We started Essential Next Steps after working with our parents.
My mother-in-law passed away unexpectedly after complications from surgery. She had done a beautiful job and given the great gift to her children of having her affairs in order. She provided a clear roadmap of how her estate was to be settled. My husband and sister-in-law were co-trustees of her estate and executed her wishes beautifully. My mother-in-law represents one end of the spectrum.
My father went to the hospital suddenly and was discharged in to skilled nursing for rehab. While at the skilled nursing facility, his decline became strikingly evident as well as the cost it was exacting on my mom. He became a full-time resident. It happened so fast and my family was not prepared. We had talked about it only lightly in that someday-far-off-in-the-future kind of way. We certainly had not planned for it. And now we were in full blown transition going full throttle and we were overwhelmed. There were countless details to manage, finding the right facility for my dad, paying for it and not bankrupting my mom, taking care of my mom, what to do with my parent’s stuff. My parents represented the opposite end of the spectrum.
We got lucky. We chose a nursing home for my dad that has a wonderful and dedicated staff and loads of support from the community. We met a highly skilled and incredibly kind elder law attorney who helped my parents get their affairs in order. We got my dad taken care of.
For my mom, we converted a 750 square foot workshop into a mother-in-law cottage. We used Universal Design Principles which include zero step entry ways, wide doorways, smooth floors and a roll in shower to offer a few examples. We gifted, donated and consigned her furnishings so that her smaller home would be pleasing and feel spacious as her larger home had been for her.
We learned a lot working with our parents. There was benefit to working both sides of the spectrum. Jon and his sister honored their mother’s wishes. We found the right place for my dad and created a safe and lovely home for my mom. We met so many good people along the way, I am proud they are part of our network and life.
We appreciate and recognize the heightened emotion in dealing with the challenges that life can throw our way. Life comes at us quickly. It can be hard to catch our breath. With planning and preparation, please know there are untold resources available to help make life’s transitions a little easier.