I wanted to share with you the story of Dorothy, a client of mine for almost 4 years. I believe her story brings to life the services we provide and the passion we have for helping seniors with daily life and money matters.
Dorothy was 79 years old when I started working with her in March 2012. She never married, had no children, siblings, or other relatives. She almost always lived with her parents, who passed away at 96 and 102 years old!
She lived alone in an assisted living facility (or ALF). She was highly educated and detail-oriented but had stopped paying her bills and was showing early signs of cognitive decline. Her housekeeper and accountant of many years were very angry with her (and had abandoned her) because of this.
Despite this chaos going on in her life, it still took her 2 months before she finally agreed to start working with me!
When she finally agreed to start my services, I had great concern that she would run out of money within 12-18 months.
I started basic daily money management services, including opening and sorting her mail, making calls to outside vendors on her behalf, and organizing her files.
But I got involved with her life issues as well and quickly realized she was not getting the care she needed (and was paying for) at the ALF she was living in.
I helped her find a new ALF that saved her $2,500 per month in living expenses!
I referred her to a professional move management company and coordinated their services to get her packed, moved, and unpacked at her new location.
During this time, I discovered through vendor calls that she was missing stock certificates that were about to be escheated to the state of Georgia. After a long search that included a trip to her Safety Deposit Box, we still couldn’t find them. I enlisted the help of Changing Spaces Atlanta to gather all important looking documents to give to me as they were going through her belongings for the move. One evening, as I was going through the papers, I found them! When we deposited those certificates, they ended up being worth more than $125,000! That money helped take care of her needs for 3.5 years!
During the actual move, I took Dorothy shopping at Macy’s–her favorite place to buy clothes. I arranged with a Personal Shopper to have clothes put aside so she wouldn’t have to walk around the store picking things out. We got her some new (desperately needed) shoes that day too. I took her out to lunch and when she arrived at her new place, everything was unpacked, put away and pictures hung on the wall. It was amazing and brought a tear to both our eyes.
I arranged for her to have a “house warming” party with the residents of her new place; and a few months later, I arranged her 80th birthday party at her favorite restaurant in Buckhead—she had fond memories of that restaurant since her and her mother always went there to eat.
I continued to pay her bills and began to attend her doctor appointments with her at her request (insistence).
Shortly after moving into her new apartment, someone went “hog wild” with her debit card charging almost $1,000 worth of shoes from an internet shoe company and other bogus charges. I worked with the bank to make sure she got all of her money back.
Unfortunately, she started to lose the ability to write her name and sign her checks so I eventually became her Power Of Attorney (or POA).
As her POA, I needed to:
Find and admit her to a rehab facility after a fall and hospital stay.
Move her again to another ALF because of her higher care level needs.
Move her to a nursing home due to her continued decline in health.
Work with an Elderlaw attorney to complete paperwork for Medicaid benefits to ensure she didn’t become destitute.
A lot of these things are beyond the scope of what many Daily Money Managers will do for their clients but for me, it was all in a day’s work.
Dorothy passed away just before Thanksgiving last month and I miss her.
Dorothy was more than just a client to me, she was like my grandma. Despite the challenges I faced helping her, I remember a lot of fun and happy moments with Dorothy and I loved being there for her and helping to make her remaining years happy and pleasant.
This holiday season, hug your aging parents or your grandparents a little longer and appreciate them a little more because you just never know how much longer they’ll be around.
If you or someone you know needs help with the issues that I helped Dorothy with, click here to schedule a free phone consultation. I hope you can see that you or your loved one will be in very good hands.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday season and a very happy New Year!