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I new to this site and message boards in general.
My wife was diagnosed with cancer in early 2005; survived; had a stoke in August of 2006 - found cancer was back - treated - has a second stoke in October 2006 - treated for cancer till March 2007 -- things were going OK (except she has terribly pain from what was diagnosed as Chemo Induced Peripheral Neuropathy) - had a PT Scan in August of 2007 and they found the cancer had spread and gave he 3 to 6 months to live and while in hospital found she had third stroke.
She is now in home hospice and I need to work to keep us.
My company has been sensational and cooperative and I do much of my work from home, but we are caught in a great black hole: too young for Medicare (she is 58 and I turn 60 this month); we are middle income and although she made more than I do, I still earn a nice living, EXCEPT when you have a hospice situation.
I would appreciate suggestions as to how best to "staff" an affordable support "team," without available family or friends who do not work.
I am suffering all the traditional symptoms of grief and uncertainty and although I intellectually understand what is going on, I am not coping well.
Any suggestions would be most appreciated

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Hi, Michael.

I'm so sorry to hear about your dear wife's illnesses and setbacks. Other folks here have experience about life with hospice. I've heard they have counseling for family members, and respite care if you need a break.

Along the lines of the financial scenario, I was wondering if you could apply for benefits for your wife to get Social Security Disability. In some cases, they will expedite the process so that it doesn't drag on for months. The $$ amount is based on what her average income was for so many months before she stopped work.

Also, check with her last employers HR department to see if there are any early payout options for pensions or life insurance. . . or other life insurance policies sometimes will pay a reduced amount in these situations. Since you are almost 60, if you have a 401k or other tax deferred investment, you can withdraw money with only 20% tax withheld and not take the extra 10% early withdrawal ding.

BTW, I am NOT an accountant, investment specialist or attorney - so you should consult with a professional before acting on any advice or suggestions I give. Everyone's situation is different and changes with locale.

Please know that you and your wife are in my prayers.

Thank you Barb,
I have just started with the Social Security Administration (major drain) and as you said, they promised to expedite, but thus far have not.
Pamela was a REALTOR (independant contractor) with no health care benefits.
I guess I am really seeking guidence on how best to staff a support team. The hospice people come for medical, but I still need caregivers.
Agencies are very expensive.
No body cares for my wife like I do --- I like to think (but probably just one man's opinion ).
Do people try to get one good person, a couple of part time people or several part time people (like nursing school students)?
Hi, Michael.

I'm sorry, I don't have first hand experience hiring help in the home.

You can place an ad, or talk to the placement office of local nursing schools, but then you have to deal with screening candidates yourself... which is difficult to do successfully if you've never done it.

Mostly it sounds as though you need someone to be with her and able to do household chores (cooking and cleaning?) when you are not there and when hospice is not there also?

Sorry I'm not more help. And, yes, no one can give the same kind of care you can... but you definitely cannot do it all yourself and work, too.

Ask the hospice folks for suggestions and referrals, maybe they can hook you up with someone.


Besides the other advice given, try checking into your state's Aging and Disability Services Administration. I'm not sure if all states provide the same services, but they may be able to help you get respite at a reduced cost. My mom and I had to go through a few respite workers until we found one that "fit", but it was worth it.

I've stuck with one caregiver, but I'm lucky enough to supplement that with family in the area. I think you'll have to decide what meets your needs best once you find out what resources are available to you.

Best of luck to you.
Thank you all for taking the time to reply.

That is almost as important as the messages.

It appears that the caregiver company I have been using is competitively priced and so far, very easy with which to work.

It also appears that we may only have a month or two together before the end.

Bless you all .... and as you all know, no one deservers to have to go through this.

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