Our dear dad passed away this week. As you may remember he had been diagnosed with mixed dementia in 2011 and normal pressure hydrocephalus in 2013 and there had been a constant decline from thereon. Then two weeks ago he just seemed to give up, he wouldn’t eat, would hardly even drink and spent the majority of the time sleeping. In the early hours of Wednesday he passed away peacefully in his sleep. It was surely a blessing for him but very sad for us.
Dad would have loved the Fifty Shades of Dementia blog and the stories told here. He was always telling stories, most of them a little exaggerated but usually funny. His other loves had been his dogs; flat-coated retrievers, Elvis and, of course, our mum – though we live in wonder that his love for mum endured despite all the trials and tribulations she brought him.
So one last story from us. It’s kind of tragic but with a satisfactory ending…
Regular readers will know that Mum passed away in September. My sister, as ever, managed all the admin and goodness knows, no one could have made that easier.
Getting a death certificate registered and the bureaucracy around the funeral is a challenge, as is probate. Probate should have been quite simple but banks kept losing our ID’s and other forms and whilst they were very kind and on tenterhooks not to upset us, they were useless at their own procedures.
So we eventually got the small amount of money left and were able to add it to dad’s account to cover a few more months of Care Home fees. Before transferring the money my sister checked with the Care Home that mum’s account was fully paid up. Yes, they assured her, and so the remainder of mum’s money was transferred to dad.
Then just last week my sister received a call from the Care Home (bear in mind that dad was in the same Care Home as mum had been) saying that they had misunderstood how much the Local Authority were paying during mum’s initial 12 weeks in the home (the 12 week disregard period)
It turned out that the Care Home had incorrectly invoiced us for that period meaning that mum’s account was actually £5,200 in debt! As you can imagine this was not a happy conversation. My sister couldn’t get her head around how they had the nerve to ask her for the money when it had been entirely their mistake. She finished the call by agreeing to send them proof of an email stating their confirmation of a zero balance on the account in September when mum passed away, but definitely not agreeing to pay their newly arrived at debit balance!
Within 10 hours of that conversation our Dad died. My sister travelled to the Care Home in the morning to say her goodbyes to dad and start arrangements for the funeral. Her partner was waiting in the reception while she was with her father and he just happened to overhear a conversation on the phone in the public reception area.
An employee from the Care Home was saying “I’ve just rung to tell you to hold off on chasing the xxx (mums’ name) account. They’ve had a double whammy! The father has died too… Giggles… let’s chase again in a few days when things have settled down.”
My sister’s partner, usually the most mild mannered of people, was incensed. As soon as the person came off the phone he introduced himself and his relationship to the ‘double whammy family’. He was disgusted that his partner was upstairs saying goodbye to her dead father and they were giggling about a double whammy! He also gave her his views, as an accountant, on the process for issuing closing account statements!
Needless to say the person, who turned out to be the financial controller, was horrified to find out that she had been overheard. As well she should be! She did redeem herself somewhat by personally going to find my sister and apologising, then following up with an email the next day confirming that the company would not be pursuing the matter any further.
Some institutions can view people as nothing more than part of their process and nowhere is this more evident than in financial matters and death. At these times we are of course at our most vulnerable but we’ve found a need to be mindful and on our guard.
It was a pretty horrendous situation but afterwards we have to admit to seeing the funny side and having a bit of a laugh about the synchronicity of the phone call.
And so ends the last story of two sisters and their journey with two dementia sufferers. Many people have told us how much this blog has helped them deal with caring for and understanding their loved ones who have dementia. We will keep it going, rotating the stories as new people discover it. If you know someone caring or coping with dementia please do pass on the link to the blog.
People have asked us if we will turn the stories into a book. We don’t know and can’t really think about this right now but may well do when we surface from the grieving process. Let us know what you think. If you like the idea of a Fifty Shades of Dementia book then please give us a Like on our Facebook page.
Thank you for your support over the years, yours warmly, two sisters…