Louis Peters, age 78, lived with his son, John. Mr. Peters, a widower since 1995, experienced age-related deterioration, particularly where his cognitive abilities were concerned-–Mr. Peters demonstrated symptoms of progressing dementia.
John, who was unable to work because of a mental health disability, was able to successfully care for his father in the home for some time but, eventually, the elder Mr. Peters needed more care than his son could provide.Complicating this situation was John’s mental health disability.
John battled an anxiety disorder that undermined his ability to meet his father’s needs. The stress inherent in any dementia caregiver’s life was especially damaging to John.Owing to both Louis’ dementia and John’s anxiety disability, it was determined that the elder Mr. Peters should reside in a nursing home environment were his needs could be more fully met. John decided to remain in the home as it was close to the nursing home.
Once Mr. Peters was placed in the structured environment of the nursing home, new problems emerged. John found himself unable to legally access his father’s funds since no such provisions had ever been made. Charges from the nursing facility accumulated, unpaid, and John grew increasingly anxious and suspicious of the facility and its staff.The nursing home, in an effort to manage an escalating financial problem, applied for Public Aid on Mr. Peters’ behalf. The facility also petitioned for a guardian to be appointed.
Lifecare Guardianship, Inc. was appointed by the court to act as Guardian of Mr. Peters’ Person and Estate.Lifecare Guardianship, Inc. (LCG) acted quickly to render this complex situation more manageable for all concerned. The Public Aid application process was completed and the nursing home’s charges were able to be routinely paid. LCG obtained approval from Public Aid for ownership of Mr. Peters’ house and car to be transferred to John. John was therefore able to remain in the home he shared with his father, and could use the car to visit his father. A trust account was also set up for the son.
Changes were made in Mr. Peters’ care to more effectively address the needs of the whole person–-LCG advocated for physical, occupational and speech/language therapy for Louis, all of which were successfully initiated. LCG professionals also discerned Mr. Peters’ slow but persistent weight loss, and altered his plan of care to include weekly weight monitoring, double desserts on his meal tray and increased access to liquids. New clothing was purchased for Louis to replace old, ill-fitting garments that no longer suited him.The resolution of their problems changed the tenor of Mr. Peters’ and John’s relationship and enabled them to enjoy one another in a new, more relaxed style.
John now visits his father at least four days each week and, though confused and disoriented, Mr. Peters recognizes his son and eagerly anticipates his company. John assists his father with breakfast, reads to him, reminisces with him, and takes him outdoors for leisurely walks.John, who once seemed to view the nursing facility as an adversary, now attends care conferences and actively works with the staff to improve his father’s well-being and quality of life. Free of the care issues and financial problems that plagued them, Mr. Peters and John are now free to focus on each other, their shared memories, and the simple joys of their life together.