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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Multiple Sclerosis’

More Responses On The Topic Of Chronic Illness and Shidduchim

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

            For the last two weeks I have shared your responses, suggestions and experiences about marrying into a family wherein there is a parent who has a chronic illness. This was prompted by a letter I received from a woman who wrote that her daughter is having difficulty getting dates because her father has Multiple Sclerosis.  Below are more letters from readers who wanted to share their experience and offer help.


 


Dear Ann,


            I read your two articles about shidduchim.  I want to share with you my experiences and I hope I am being helpful.  My middle daughter was diagnosed with a non-hereditary, non-life threatening health problem when she was 10.  When it was her turn to seek a shidduch, we had a difficult time of it.  At first we told people, because we didn’t want her getting hurt.  We soon found out that we couldn’t get her any dates. 

 After consulting our rabbi, he told us to let her go out first and tell after two dates.  Well, she went out with a boy and he even took her to meet his grandmother.  When she told him (about the health concern) that was the last time she saw him.  Reflecting back, I can still remember what her doctor had told her. Her doctor said she needed to marry a very caring young man.  At the age of 26 she still was not married.  The turning point in her life was the last date she had.  It turned out to be miserable.  Her friend told her to go on Saw You at Sinai.  Well, Hashem had rachmanus on her, and on the first try she met her husband.  Today, Boruch Hashem they have two adorable children.  She did not tell him at first.  After several dates she told him about her health concern.  He didn’t mind.  However, his parents didn’t find out until about six months after they were married.  His mother was only upset because he hadn’t confided in her.  As far as my husband’s Parkinson’s, he did not come out to meet the boys until after about four dates.

 

            My daughter found out after they were engaged that the only aunt he has was mildly retarded.  Let me tell you that when my daughter met her, my daughter was able to be extremely caring because of all she had gone through. 

 

            My other daughter got engaged when she was 30.  That was also a nightmare.  She had plenty of dates but just couldn’t find the right caring person.  My husband’s illness did not show that much those years she was dating.  My husband even warned her to get married already, because once his illness shows it would be much harder for her.  She met her husband on Saw You at Sinai.  She went on that web site regularly and had a shadchan who dealt with older singles.  Her shadchan herself had gotten married older.  He himself had a father who died of ALS.  He told my daughter from the start.  He’s totally caring about my husband because of his own experiences.

 

            Well, I hope I helped you a little.  


Name Withheld


 


            I cannot endorse or disapprove of computer dating, as I am just too unfamiliar with it. I know as many people who met their spouses through the Internet and are happily married as I do people who have had a bad experience. As with anything you are unfamiliar with, one must be very careful. Realize that you are being set up with someone you cannot see and someone no one close to you can vouch for. It is also important to remember that each web site is unique. You cannot judge them all by a negative or positive experience on one. Having said that, I think it is important to communicate the ideas that have worked for others and I thank all those that have shared their experience.

 

            It is difficult to know when and how in the dating process to share that you have a sick parent or an illness yourself. It is important to discuss this with your rabbi. There is no one rule for everyone. Da’as Torah is needed and should be adhered to.


 


 Dear Ann,


             Because of chronic illness, we were not able to have children. We chose to have an adopted family. When we were considering adoption, people in my family who knew advised us against it. They felt adopted children would have a hard time with a shidduch. This was many years ago, before there was even talk of a shidduch crisis, or heightened concern about every aspect of a person’s history.

 

            We thought long and hard about what to do. We decided that we had a good home to share with children, which we desperately wanted. We decided to go ahead and adopt despite our families reservations and have bitachon in Hashem to deal with the rest. B”H all our children are happily married for many years already. My ravtold us that because we adopted our children at birth, it was not even necessary to say that they were adopted. The illness information about their parent should wait till after a few dates. My children disagreed and told about both the adoption and illness right away. All their shidduchim went easily. Neither the adoption nor the illness seemed to bother their bashert or our machatonim.

 

            I realize times have changed but I wonder if our total emunah in Hashem, to deal positively with our children and take care of them, helped in how relatively easily their shidduchim went. I do understand the fear and pain a parent feels when children have a hard time in anything, especially something as important in their life as their children’s future.  All I can say to these families is have bitachon. Hashem will only do what is in our best interest.


Name Withheld


 


 


If anyone reading this knows of organizations or shadchanim who deal with making matches for children where parental illness exists, I would so appreciate hearing from you. If you want to contact the woman who wrote the original letter, I can forward your information to her.


 


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com.

Why Long Term Care Insurance? (Part 3)

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

         When my generation was young, I believed the only insurance that people cared about was life insurance. Men (mostly) wanted to make sure their families could manage financially upon their death and so they took out life insurance. It was a time when being a homemaker was not seen in a dollar value and as most women had not yet entered the work force, the need to insure “the little woman” wasn’t a priority.


 


         Since then, the world has changed. Replacing the tasks of a stay at home mom by hired help is exorbitant, and so those wives and mothers that work either in the home or outside, often take out the life insurance offered through their work place or privately, right along with their husbands. Living longer and having more complicated life styles has given way to the need for many and varied types of insurance that we look to for protection in the event of crisis, such as Disability insurance, Critical Care Insurance and Long Term Care (LTC) Insurance. As this series of articles deal specifically with LTC Insurance, I’d like to go into some factors about why it is important.

 

         No one plans to get ill, or have an accident that makes us dependent on others for our daily life needs. Yet one in 13 people over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Half of those live in institutions. The risk of stroke doubles every 10 years after age 55, and almost one third of the elderly fall each year. Falls account for 40 percent of admissions to nursing homes.* And it is not just seniors who are at risk of needing help. The average age for a person to be diagnoses with Multiple Sclerosis is 30. Almost all spinal cord injuries (97 percent) occur prior to age 50.** All of these, along with so many other diseases we hear about, as almost common place today, may make getting out of bed, getting washed and getting dressed independently virtually impossible.

 

         When people become ill, their financial expenses rise. There is the need for equipment, whether rented or bought, medication, help with personal care, travel for treatment, the need to hire someone to do the tasks that you used to do like snow removal, grass cutting, home repairs, child care etc. This can very quickly eat up any savings, investments or assets you have worked so hard to provide your family with. It is terrible to watch what you have managed to put away for your old age, or for your grandchildren’s education or your children’s inheritance, disappear in a matter of months because of the care you suddenly need.

 

         Providing care today could easily cost $500 a week, depending on your needs. Most of this is probably not covered by any other insurance you have. If you do not have the financial means to hire people to assist you, the job falls on your children. The emotional burden to both of you is vast. No adult I know wants to become dependent on their children for their basic needs. And for the children to find the time to provide the care you need may involve hiring childcare or lessening their own work hours, both adding to already existing financial and emotional burdens.

 

         Today, insurance policies do not come in a “one size fits all” form. You can tailor make a policy, and the cost will be as varied as the coverage you desire. A LTC Policy can be made to cover facility care and or home care. It can begin immediately upon need or entail a waiting period. It can give you the money for your care or pay upon receiving receipts. It can last from a bit over a year to an unlimited period of time. It all depends on your needs and what you can afford.

 

         It is difficult to determine your needs when you are healthy. That is why the more information on insurance you get the better off you are. Many well spouse groups have had speakers in on the topic of Long Term Care. It seems to be of particular concern to care givers who know first hand just how difficult it is to have to be the caregiver of someone who is ill. As a group, well spouses seem to want to make sure their children do not have to do for them what they have had to do for their spouses. But LTC Insurance is not for everyone and even if it is right for you, not everyone can afford it. It is a very individual decision. It needs to be discussed with your financial advisor or a competent, honest insurance broker.

 

         Next week I’ll discuss some things to look for when choosing a LTC policy.

 

         My thanks again to Terri Allister and Hettie Pfeiffer (hetti.pfeiffer@investorsgroup.com for giving me their time and expertise on the subject of Long Term Care insurance.

 

         You can reach me at  annnovick@hotmail.com

 

           *Alzheimer’s Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Health Canada News Release July 25, 2001.

 

         **MS Society, Canadian Paraplegic Association.

Special Needs

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

       I have often written about how important respite is for the caregiver. A break from the daily care of a chronically ill loved one is vital in order for the care to continue in a warm, loving manner. But while that break in routine is happening, it is very important that the respite worker understand the specific needs of a Jewish person. In fact it is vital for everyone who comes in contact with the chronically ill person and his/her family to have an understanding of our Halachah and tradition in order to treat the clients appropriately and with sensitivity. This requires education of the professional and volunteer caregivers. Without it, the quality of a person’s life will certainly be diminished.

 

         Jenny was Orthodox. Her children were not. When Jenny had a stroke, she lost the use of her hands and could not speak. She needed to be fed and have her basic needs attended to by another. Her daughters did their best to keep her happy and comfortable in her own home. She had 24-hour care from some “very lovely and kind” caregivers who came highly recommended. Jenny’s children never thought of informing the caregiver about kashrus, because they bought all the food, and made sure it was strictly kosher, as their mother would want. Jenny could not inform her children of problems because she could not speak.

 

         One day Jenny’s sister arrived just as she was finishing lunch. Jenny was crying and agitated. Her sister saw what the problem was immediately. The caregiver was insisting that Jenny drink a glass of milk with a meat meal. The caregiver had no idea why Jenny was so upset. She attributed the agitation to the stroke. She told Jenny’s sister that Jenny was often agitated around mealtime. When the sister explained about the separation of milk and meat, the caregiver was devastated. She had never heard of this.

 

         Martin had Multiple Sclerosis. He could not care for himself and needed to be placed in care. His mind was sound. He took part in choosing his own facility and, being Orthodox, chose one that was kosher and met his religious needs. Martin was surprised to discover that his lunch was usually a meat meal and supper, served only four hours later, was dairy. When Martin complained about this, because he observed the six hours of separation between meat and milk, the facility was shocked. It seemed no one had ever brought this up before. Some of the staff had no idea what the problem was.

 

         There was no Jewish school that could meet the many needs of a young Orthodox special needs child, whom I will call Zev. And so Zev had to go to a special needs center located in a public school. He made tremendous progress through the year. However his talk of pumpkins and gifts from Santa was extremely disturbing to his family.

 

         Making caregivers aware of our Halachah and traditions is vital if we want our elderly and ill to be comfortable in their care. A Jewish way of life may be totally foreign to those who are taking care of our loved ones. Many communities may have already addressed this issue. Others may have never thought to. One institution that is in the process of educating caregivers is the Ahavas Chesed organization of Montreal, Canada. It is holding a symposium on May 15 of this year for professionals in the public and private sectors. The objective of this symposium is to sensitize and educate workers to the unique needs of the Jewish population. It is called, “Bridging Worlds − Caring for the Orthodox Senior/Holocaust Survivor.”

 

         They are also producing two publications. One is a handbook that includes a general history, profile of the Orthodox family and lifestyle and a section on care giving. The other is a resource guidebook for care workers that provides specific do’s and don’ts of an Orthodox home in daily life and around the calendar year in diverse situations. It is the hope of Ahavas Chesed that these educational items will then be used at agencies and institutions for ongoing staff training.

 

         As a well spouse of many years I am eager to see these booklets. I can think of many unfortunate situations that could have been avoided if only the caregiver had had more knowledge about our way of life and unique needs. It is my understanding that topics will include everything from kashrus to modesty when bathing someone and will cover a tremendous amount of vital information. Though written specifically for the senior and ill population, I hope many of the ideas could also be used when dealing with Jewish and Orthodox people, no matter what their age.

 

         For more information on the symposium or the booklets you can contact cpolter@ahavaschesed.ca

 

         You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/special-needs/2007/04/25/

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