Today's (long-avoided) challenge was to start sorting through Dad's collection of documents. He DOES have some documents in envelops, but they are more chronological than organized by subject. I set up file folders a few days ago and took opportunities to let him see those (familiarity helps), but he hasn't liked the idea. Maybe he hated files in his career job, too.
So I started slowly a couple days ago. Loose documents and new mail showed up, so I showed him how I was putting those in the new file folders. And there are a couple of CDs he wanted to cash in, so I typed letters to the banks (at their instruction) and had him sign the letters. He fusses that the post office won't return the envelopes to him unless his name was on the return address, so I made him his own set of sticky-back address labels! That made him feel better.
He even walked the envelopes out to the mailbox himself. He didn't complain TOO much about that, so I got him to sit down at the table today to start sorting through the duffel bag of documents. Most are copies of bill statements that have been paid. He didn't want to keep those, yet he had them back through 2010. I let HIM put those in the special "document trash box" I set up (with a big label he can read so that he remembers what it is for. Plus, a special box will let me sort through it after he goes to bed so I can make sure nothing stays in there that he should keep.
It IS very frustrating sometimes. He looks at old phone bills and throws them in the trash box, then will look at the next old phone bill and dither about it for several minutes. I am patient and explain the same thing over and over when he feels uncertain and forgetful. Meanwhile, I go through dozens of other "same old bills" in 2 minutes.
We found many investment accounts I did not know about, so I made many new folders. The "filing-by-subject" idea confuses him. These days, he thinks in terms of "degree of importance" and wants to keep those most "important" things together. It doesn't matter to him that one document is a birth certificate and the next is a certificate of deposit; those are both "important". It takes some effort to convince him to let me put his (and Mom's) birth certificates in one folder and the CDs from the banks in separate bank folders. He is CONVINCED they will be lost among the folders.
Later, I asked him to name anything he wanted to get his hands on. He said "CDs", I produced them immediately (showing him the file folders). Naturally, he still doubts the filing system. I understand why; its not HIS system. But I'M the one who will have to find documents...
We found last year's tax form, and we found a lot of 2011 tax documents. He hasn't filed his 2011 tax forms. I'll have to make a few calls Monday. His last year's tax form preparer first, to see what they did for this year's tax form before he seems to have lost track of not filing them. They seem to have done some preliminary work. And we will NEED an expert in both Florida taxes forms and NH tax forms. I can't do those!
I'll have to go to the IRS/FL/NH websites to see about filing for an extention forgiveness due to "medical problems". This is going to be a BIG MESS. But we'll get through it...
And have the duffel bag and a whole briefcase are yet to go through! I can't WAIT to see what I discover next in those. Dad was worn out going through 2/3 of the duffel bag of documents!
I am getting along. My usual routines are all shot to hell and back, but I'm being flexible about it. Fortunately, Fox News and The Golf Channel are good Dad-sitters. He can watch them all day (though I get him up and about a few times and keep some conversations going about the shows. And I get him out on the deck (and yard sometimes) for change of scenery and some exercise.
I get out to the garden. I planted beans, cukes, and transplanted some basil seedlings today. The tomatoes and bell peppers are doing well. The cats are doing well (Dad responds to the cats well). I make some time on the computer (obviously), but I can't take my time at it as well as BD (Before Dad).
The first 2 weeks, I spent all my time around Dad as if he was a guest so that when he wanted anything I was there. I'm getting a little used to leaving him alone for some time, and I have been talking to him about treating this as his own home. At first, if he wanted some potato chips as a snack, he would ask me. I THINK I've convinced him that he can just go get anything he wants anytime at all, even in the middle of the night. I understand his reluctance (I think). If he just "gets" food, it means he lives here, and he still wants to think this is just temporary. After a few more weeks, he will forget he lived anywhere else recently. I'm serious, he is already forgetting living in FL. He barely recalls staying in the rehab hospital for 2 weeks just 4 weeks ago.
And let me say that I sometimes repeat myself here. Between this blog, emails to friends and family, and discussions with various businesses, I sometimes lose track of what I have said to who, when. So forgive me things I've already mentioned.
Life goes on. but it isn't always a straight line. There are sometimes dips in the road. LOL!
But we are managing, and that's the important thing.