Author: Phil Chwalinski

Changing of the guard

From POA to Guardianship As of yesterday at 2:55pm I have been appointed Guardian of my mother by a Judge in a court of law, and it wasn’t even my petition for Guardianship. It was my sister who petitioned the court. So pay attention and remember it could happen to you. This is how it happened to us… My mother appointed me POA over her financial and medical issues after I moved back to Arkansas 3.5 years ago, from California, to be her full time caregiver. My niece had been begging me to come home and take over because...

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Sword fighting with windmills

Today I got a late certified letter from the end of June that the Medicaid appeal for backdating decision is denied. The date was June 26, after the June 23 appeal hearing. So maybe the nursing home already knew the decision on July 10 when they asked for full payment by August 10 or mom will be discharged home. I finally spoke to the State Ombudsman, Kathie Gately, and she wasn’t much help except to say to send a letter appealing the nursing home’s decision to discharge. Done. And she is sending me a list of all the nursing...

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100 hours’ worth

Two and a half weeks work. Just to pay one bill. No groceries, no utilities, no gas. Just to pay one bill. Homeowner’s insurance. No choice. Well, maybe I could cancel the policy, but then what? Not a better solution. Next up is personal property tax for the house, due in October. 222 hours’ worth. 5 and a half weeks work. Just to pay one bill… None of the government agencies I deal with talk to each other about #ALZ. Click To Tweet Backdating Medicaid is still up in the air, and I haven’t heard from them. But the nursing...

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A letter to my mom on Mother’s Day

Dear Mom, If you remember the mom you were, you don’t show it now. But I remember. That’s why I’m still here with you, and will always do the best I can for you, but it is hard. Hard to watch you decline, hard to watch the care you receive, or don’t receive, and be helpless to make a difference. But I keep trying. It is not the natural progression of age that caused you to be this way, it is Alzheimer’s Disease, and I know you are scared. Scared to be alone, scared to forget, even scared to...

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April’s fool

When I started this journey over 3 years ago I thought I had a noble purpose: to take care of my mother. Caregiving is supposed to be a gift. Countless people said what a ‘good son’ I was, and how fortunate my mom was to have such a son to help her. And now we get to the part I was in no way prepared for. Not by the books I read or the so called experts out there I listened to. We had a 3 year plan and almost made it but stumbled before ‘making it home’. I...

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Standing up for my mom and everyone with ALZ

Growing up I was surprised to learn not all State Capitals looked like the one in Washington, DC. Ours did in Arkansas. It looked like our US Capitol building. My mother worked there in the Secretary of State’s office. She wasn’t the Secretary, or the secretary. I don’t remember what she did, but it was cool. We’d go there at Christmas and see the lights and the big tree in the Rotunda. The miles and miles of cold white marble and the warm golden oak wood was, and still is such a contrast. You know if those walls could...

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Brutal truths: Family and Medicaid

Still waiting… like in an elevator, before the doors open. When you are forced to deplete your funds to apply for Medicaid, they (the enforcers) don’t tell you how to pay your bills after that. As long as you don’t have any money you can apply for Medicaid. Mom gets to keep $40 of her Social Security check every month. Her prescriptions are almost $300 a month, her new insurance premiums (both Rx and Med) are $270 per month. Her real estate taxes are $600 a year (I’m supposed to pay for everything other than her healthcare, by the...

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A nursing home nightmare

This is my second open letter. You can read the first here. So I sent that letter telling of my Mother’s plight (and mine) as an attempt to raise a warning flag, and focus awareness in an area of what I will call ‘aftercare’. There is a black hole into where this issue falls, never to be heard from again, because caregivers and resources are exhausted, and depleted. The caregivers are just glad it’s over. They are also suffering from their own lack of care and must focus on healing themselves, both physically and mentally. The resources, and I mean...

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Where’s help for caregivers?

Open Letter to Everybody, It should not be this hard to die from Alzheimer’s. If I had known how hard the end would be and how little and conflicting help I would get, I would have taken being crazy in California over crazy in Arkansas. I chose leaving California to take care of my mother in Arkansas because I thought I could make a difference in her life and it would keep me from completely going crazy with worry about her. I was wrong. Not that my life in California was perfect, but I had a job(s), and sort...

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