Looking Out for Family: Care Management and Financial Planning

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Sometimes the most compassionate family members aren’t the ones related to you by blood.

In the case of Edward Fitzpatrick, a very special friend was the one who stepped up to handle his medical and financial affairs when he was diagnosed with cancer.

“This man was virtually an adopted uncle to me,” said Mary Langmead, Edward’s caretaker and the daughter of his best friend. “He was closer to our family than a bunch of blood relatives – I’ve never known my life without him.”

After her own parents became unable to care for their friend “Uncle Fitz”, as he was known among their family, Mary sought the services of Ivory House Elder Care Experts Inc., a geriatric care service in Baltimore.

Edward was having trouble walking as a result of prostate cancer that had metastasized throughout his body, attacking his bones and giving him tumors that caused immobility. Yet, he was determined not to leave his home, said Mary.

After one of his doctors recommended Ivory House, they started slow, bringing in nurses three days a week. Eventually he required round-the-clock care, and from that point the Ivory House staff took over everything.

“I basically turned over orchestrating the doctor’s appointments, because it all got to be so much,” Mary said. “I couldn’t move him in my car anymore, and we needed two people to move him and bathe him.”

Keeping up with the medical terminology and scheduling appointments also became a challenge for Mary. Melanie, a nurse with the Ivory House, acted as a liaison to the medical community on behalf of Edward.

“Her agency picked up prescriptions, which changed so often I would have been running constantly,” Mary said. “When she called the doctors, they would get back to her right away and she was actually communicating with them.”

The WWII veteran who fought in the Battle of Normandy had been an asset to the community until his death at age 84. He was active in community associations and church, and was very close to his neighbors. At times, Mary admitted he could be rather stubborn-a trait perhaps attributed to his fierce independence and strong opinions.

“If there was somebody he didn’t get along with, they’d have somebody different the very next day,” she said, with a laugh. “If it didn’t work out for some reason, it seemed like they had an endless supply.”

However, Edward did have a soft side, which drew colleagues and lady friends to him until the very end.

“He was very into his Irish heritage, had a shamrock on his mailbox and everything. The Irish community loved him,” Mary said.

While not related by blood, Mary said she would have accepted nothing less than stellar care for her Uncle Fitz.

“He didn’t have to leave his home, that was his wish until the very end,” she said. “You can’t put a dollar sign on that.”

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