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My husband has been diagnosed with parkinson's and I have spondylolithisis. I worry that I won't be able to take care of him later when he needs me. How will I know that he can no longer handle the finances? How will I know when he should stop driving? What will happen to him if I get confined to a wheel chair?

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Blannie -- thanks, but I trust this man. He's looked at the earlier MRI and told me that I would need surgery eventually, but that the shots should help for a while. the pain doctor is the one who told me to go back to the surgeon because I've lost 20% of the strength in my hand. Without the surgery, I will lose the use of the hand & arm. I'd hoped to wait two years but looks like its not going to be. I will call my primary care doctor because my last surgery was November.
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Amott6, the most loving and responsible decision is to be authentic and real and converse about these matters. Yes, it may be awkward and hard to process, but it must be done. It will make the future much, much easier to have everything spelled out. We did this with my Mom and though some of the decisions made were questionable, we respect(ed) her decisions. Don't delay. Your children may surprise you in their decisions to be there for you - those who are far may come near - and those who are near, may choose not to help. Your responsibility is to be clear and specific and to create a plan for your future. Otherwise it will become very, very messy for your family - and conflicts will be inevitable.

Bless you and may God perfect you and your family through these experiences.
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Please be sure to get at least two opinions on whether you need surgery or not. And not from a surgeon. They like to operate - that's their job and how they make their money. Surgery is a major undertaking at this point in your life. Anesthesia can have long-lasting negative effects for seniors. Not to scare you, but just to remind you that doctors aren't always right the first time.
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It seems that the other shoe has dropped. When I went for the shot, the doctor wants to send me back to the surgeon. It may be a blessing in disguise, since my surgeon plans to retire next year. He feels something bad has happened since the last MRI a year ago. Maybe if I get the neck fixed now, I won't have to worry about being ready to give Al the care he will need later. The thought of another surgery so soon after the last one is hard though.
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Thanks so much, everyone. Such wonderful advice. I finally just handed my laptop to my husband and asked him to read it. At least its a start. We do have a family trust set up, but that's more for after we're gone, not to help with daily living. Our lawyer has moved away, so we'll need to find a new one. Thanks again.
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Do you have a good lawyer? Do you have wills, POA's, medical proxies, etc, all set up? (I don't! But I've started working on it.) Maybe you need an accountant, too! Discuss this with your husband as if it might happen in 10 or 20 years. "I know you like to be prepared, so let's start planning now, so we'll be ready in case one of us falls down the stairs."

If you have a distant child who is trustworthy and good with money and computers, you could set up bill-paying through him or her. That could be set up fairly easily. We use Quicken software to pay all our bills, which keeps things easy. No need for stamps. You might need two checking accounts, one for the local daughter and one for the bill payer to use. Your income is deposited in one, and a fixed amount is automatically transferred to the other account each month. Discuss this now so you can set it up if you need it.

Discuss with your children how responsibilities might be divided, and the possibility of paying the child who does the most for you. In my family, my mean but honest brother took over the paperwork. I'm the sweetiepie, and I did the direct care. My sister, who is strong and wise but impatient, got the phone calls when Daddy wanted to kill himself, and spelled me on caregiving. Each child should contribute based on his or her strengths and weaknesses and personal situation, but all should contribute in some way, so the kids will still love each other when you're gone.

I forget whether your husband is in denial or not. As far as driving is concerned, does he have a friend whose judgment he trusts? Can he take that friend for a drive or two every 6 months or year for a neutral opinion? If the friend expresses concern, he can go to an official testing site run by AARP or AAA for evaluation.

How will you get around when he has to stop driving? Look into local resources like public transit, taxis, or ride services for elders and disabled. Find out now, and the future won't look so scary.

Do some research on local services and facilities. Tour the fanciest, most unaffordable ALF "just for the fun of it." Start listening to what people say about local NH's. Find out what agencies provide in-home care. Does anyone in the community have a great reputation as a freelance health-care aide? He/she would be cheaper, but not bonded, probably. At least here in MA, it's not too expensive to do a CORI - criminal background check. Hang around the Senior Center to pick up useful information and make contacts.

If you have plans in place, it will be easier for your local daughter to do her part, and it will be easier for her to call on her siblings for help and support as needed.

Will your husband go along with this if he thinks it's for the distant future? If he resists, tell him you are lying awake at night worrying about it, and he needs to do it for your peace of mind.
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amott, don't put it off any longer. Talk to your daughter. Things can happen very quickly and it's better to have a plan in place. At a minimum you need to set up power of attorney over finances and one for health care in the event you or your husband can't take care of each other. So in addition to talking to your daughter, get in touch with an estate attorney, if you can afford it.
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I hate to put so much responsibility on the daughter, but all the other kids live too far away -- NJ, Texas, Nevada, NM, Idaho. She has so much on her plate already that I've hesitated to talk to her about it
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Now is the time to start having conversations with your husband and your children about how you will handle things. I took over the paperwork for my parents when I realized mom was paying every bill whether they owed it or not (doctor's bills where if she had waited, her secondary insurance would have paid the remainder). I had to go back and get over $2,000 from doctors that my mom had overpaid. Once I saw that, we quickly got my name on all of their accounts and the Powers of Attorney (health and property) set up and signed and wills updated.

If you have a child who is nearby and who you trust, start the process now while you're both still able to figure out what's best for you. If no children are nearby or who will act on your behalf, start investigating support services. Agency for Aging, your local government agencies (like here, there are township services that do a lot for seniors). Or ask your children to help you investigate what services are available. See an elder care attorney to help you set things up if your children can't help you.

In my case, my parents moved near me to an independent living facility. My dad lived there for nine years and passed away in 2009. My mom is still there and going strong at 93. I handle all of her affairs and take her everywhere, etc. But we set that up 12 years ago, before it was at a crisis stage. Good luck and keep us posted.
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I don't know what spondylolithisis is, but do you have any adult children? If so, can you trust them to help you with these decisions? If so, maybe you should consider having a long heart-to-heart with them and your husband soon to discuss this. Good luck!!
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