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By Attorney David Engler

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Yesterday, an ICU physician gave me the concept of “The Documentation of The Demonstration of Love.” It is a beautiful concept and especially useful when trying to determine at the end of life, who is truly acting as the next of kin.

This came up because I am litigating a case for two adult daughters and adult son-in-law who were taking care of their father at the end of his life. To their shock, Adult Protective Services jumped in without a court order and took the ailing father off to live with a longtime “lady-friend.” The father, completely incompetent because of long term COPD, told APS and hospice that he wanted to go back to a friend’s home outside of the county.  The man was being loved by his only daughters and son-in-law as well as his grandchildren.  The government brought in a local police officer and literally strapped the dying man to a stretcher and carted him away.  The scene was emotionally charged as Father and Grandpa was being loaded into the back of an ambulance.  They would never see him again.  He would die two months later, but not before the lady-friend changed the life insurance, power of attorney and will.

Is there a value for losing the presence of your dying parent for the last two months of his life? How do you measure the loss of ability to provide loving care for your dying parent? Maybe the better question is, whether a value can be placed on this sacred time.

But, back to the Doctor’s comments about “The Documentation of The Demonstration of Love.” His thought was brilliant.  Just being related by blood. as opposed to friendship, does not mean your loss of time with a dying person has value.  The physician who sees life and death on a daily basis had a keen intuition as to the relationship between the patient and those who have come to be near at the moment of death.  Some might be there looking at their smartphone in the lobby dealing with the guilt of not having been there enough for Mom. There is the family member who is counting down the minutes to inheritance, big or small.  They are there to make sure the troublesome sibling isn’t getting one over.  There are those who are inconvenienced by the process of death.  Imagine the mind of the Doctor whose sole interest is the patient. He is looking for the Documentation of the Demonstration of Love.  Was the family member at the rehab center every day?  Was Mom’s hair brushed by her daughter no matter what meanness came out of the Mother’s mouth controlled by a progressing dementia? Did the family turn their family room into a hospital room?  Was money spent? Are there pictures of smiles and a hand being held?  Or was the grieving “lady-friend,” twenty years his junior, constantly on the receiving end of money from the older man? Were his clothes clean?

Now, the government agency should never have come in and taken a dying elderly man from his only daughters without some court order. It was a screw up when it happened and that is why we have a lawsuit. But having a legal point is not the same as proving the damage that comes from not being their when your Dad is dying.  We have to dig deeper.  We need proof to show; where was the love?

And as we go through life, maybe it’s not a bad idea to live as if you were preparing for a jury trial.  One day there will be a judgment day and someone will ask to see the documentation of the demonstration of love. If it is important to you that you be seen as having loved, then make sure your life is filled with proof.  Did you leave a smile? Did you sacrifice your time? Did you do the tasks that were difficult; like changing a soiled sheet or holding a person’s hair back when they were sick? Did you bring gifts? Did you send cards? If we live our lives knowing that we will be asked to document our love then we will live in peace with our self and the ultimate finder of fact. 

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I have always talked about getting grandma on Facebook or have yiour father look up guys he knew in Korea.  Socializaion helps.  Tim Cearfoss shared these texts for the over 60 set:

Teens have theirs, now Seniors have their very own texting codes.  I thought the following listing was appropriate …

After all the kids have all their little codes..like
BFF, LOL
, etc.  So here are some codes for seniors:

  • ATD – At      the Doctor’s
  • BFF – Best      Friends Funeral
  • BTW –      Bring the Wheelchair
  • BYOT –      Bring Your Own Teeth
  • CBM –      Covered by Medicare
  • CUATSC – See      You at the Senior Center
  • DWI –      Driving While Incontinent
  • FWBB –      Friend with Beta Blockers
  • FWIW –      Forgot Where I Was
  • FYI –      Found Your Insulin
  • GGPBL –      Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low
  • GHA – Got      Heartburn Again
  • HGBM – Had      Good Bowel Movement
  • IMHO – Is      My Hearing-Aid On?
  • LMDO –      Laughing My Dentures Out
  • LOL –      Living on Lipitor
  • LWO –      Lawrence Welk’s On
  • OMMR – On      My Massage Recliner
  • OMSG – Oh      My! Sorry, Gas
  • ROFL..CGU –      Rolling on the Floor Laughing…Can’t get Up!
  • TOT –      Texting on Toilet
  • TTYL – Talk      to You Louder
  • WAITT – Who      Am I Talking To?
  • WTFA – Wet      the Furniture Again
  • WTP –      Where’re the Prunes
  • WWNO –      Walker Wheels Need Oil

Hope these help. GGLKI (Gotta Go, Laxative Kicking in!)

By Attorney David Engler

There is nothing more lasting than memories. It is one of the cruel ironies that the diseases of the elderly like Alzheimer’s and dementia often rob our loved ones or wards of the past. I have advocated in the blog post: “Let Grandma Facebook” that we should try to teach seniors how to get on Facebook as an incredible tool for socializing. Without socialization, we start to diminish.

I have included the photo of my friend Ray who is blessed. He is 85; plays golf three times a week, travel the world with his wife and can tell a story. I was lucky enough this past weekend to learn how he spent the last months of World War II.

Ray and his ping-pong paddle!

It was easy enough to get in to the Army. No one really checked birth certificates, so being 16 or 17 was no problem. Ray enlisted and soon found out that his $30 dollar a month would be bumped up with a bonus of $50 if he agreed to jump from a plane and become an Army Ranger 11th Airborne Division. It was the end of 1944 and the war was going full-scale. Growing up in Brier Hill on the Northside of Youngstown and being one of 8 children during the depression meant that patriotism came easy. You grew up on a street where every kid was poor and didn’t know it. Every family on Sunday went to their respective ethnic church. Ray’s family was Polish so St. Kashmir was the place to pray. It also had a ping-pong table. He had played his cousins and every other kid on the Northside for years. He had a quick defense and could play from 8 feet off the table. No nickels or pennies wasted in a pinball machine, when 6 hours of fun was available at the Church.

By the time he finished basic training in Alabama and jump school at Fort Benning, he was deployed to Okinawa. He was one of the elite but by the time his company arrived the Emperor had surrendered after the Atomic Bomb was exploded and the Russians had invaded. It was September of 1945. The Japanese were completely compliant. They did as the Emperor directed. Sure there were holdouts on islands that did not get the message and one fought all the way until 1970(true!).

Ray was stationed in Sendai where the tsunami recently killed thousands. There was not a great deal of danger and the troops needed entertained, so there were Ping Pong tournaments. Ray took on all comers, even the Japanese. The picture I have attached is Ray holding the 1946 Pacific Rim Championship Ping Pong Paddle. He is like a real life Forest Gump, except Forest was shot at. The winner got a trip to stay at the Emperor’s Palace for two weeks. Imagine being 20 years old and living in a palace. There was no shortage of anything. America had won and Ray was the greatest Ping Pong player on this vanquished island-nation.

Ray is lucky because he has shared these stories with his children and grandchildren, but there is no reason they should not be captured with our camera phones, blogs and HD recorders. On the net, the memories can live forever on sites like Facebook, Tumblr and WordPress. Take the extra few minutes at your next visit and capture the video memories of these American treasures, our seniors.

Attorney David Engler
Phone: 330-729-9777
http://www.DavidEngler.com Attorney Engler’s website
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal

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