I wanted to thank everyone again for all the supportive comments on this series. It's been hard dealing with what's happening to my Dad and what it means for our family, but it has helped to share it with all of you.
As you can all tell from reading the posts, this has been a whirlwind time full of more questions than answers, some of which include:
- What does Medicare cover?
- What does supplemental insurance cover?
- What kinds of things should you think about when making a will?
- How do you pay for a nursing home?
- When is it appropriate to set up a trust, or transfer assets to children?
- How do you budget to make sure your retirement savings last long enough?
- How do you cope with managing things for a parent who hasn't dealt with any of this stuff?
I have not yet been able to educate myself on all the issues enough to really be writing any how-to or advice posts, I'm just trying to show you what it's like to be caught in the midst of this, and hopefully encourage people to investigate these things for themselves in advance, well before it's ever needed. Believe me, once you are in the thick of it, you will feel so stressed out and emotionally drained that you won't really want to deal with it.
And the tough thing is that you never know how much time you'll have. My father's prognosis sounded quite positive at first, but further discussion with the doctors was very sobering: they removed most of a large glioblastoma (yep, just like Ted Kennedy), but even with the radiation and chemo treatments he'll soon be undergoing, the life expectancy with this kind of highly malignant tumor is often only a year or two.
So now, there's another thing to think about, as suggested by one of the oncologists: what has Dad always wanted to do? Should he spend a little mad money on a trip or some other treat for himself, to help him enjoy the time he has left? I think he's still a little too much in shock to think clearly about it, and I'm not sure he's in the frame of mind where having some kind of last fling would really help. I think we're all a bit in shock right now, somehow trying to be optimistic and resigned at the same time. It's tough.
Posts in this series:
Yikes, family health crisis!
More info on the crisis and what I needed to do
Organizing my father's finances
Attempts at estate planning
How Mom felt about all this
Details on Dad's Finances
What About Me?