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Midlife Matters: Debbie Burak ("Midlife Dialogues" Series)

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Debbie Burak tells her story:

My parent's time in assisted living began as a result of a fire that rendered them homeless in a matter of minutes. My mother had been trapped in an 8ft enclosed patio with no exit, and at the last minute two angels came to her rescue. One jumped inside the patio while the other straddled the wall and together they pushed and pulled her up and over the wall to safety.

Monies had long been exhausted for their care, and they had not planned well enough to bear the burden of so many years in the care of others. So while her question about the check coming from the VA may seem insignificant, it would have allowed us to honor her burial wishes. Her fear of facing another fire was more than any of us could endure.

I thought about how different this ending could have been, how different things would have been for both my parents if we had known about Aid and Attendance from the beginning.

$160,000 would have gone a long way to have made their lives better, and to help lessen the financial hardship placed upon our family over 9 years. I thought about all the inquires to the VA for benefits for them, and repeatedly being told there was nothing, when all along there was.

To now have the pension awarded to my mother and be denied to the very end, to the last breath, yes, it was a defining moment in my life.

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