The Story of Margaret

Stephen Trefts, President

As professional trustees, we are often faced with individuals who need assistance with their daily living. Following is the story of Margaret, and our journey with her through varying levels of care.

A 1923 graduate of Western Washington University, Margaret was well-prepared for the challenges of teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Twin Falls, Idaho. She relates how she would get there early to start the wood burning stove to warm the room and still recalls the thrill of sharing the early morning schoolyard with a herd of elk.

Never married, Margaret devoted her life to her forty-year teaching career and to caring for her ailing parents. After her retirement, she became caregiver and financial manager for her older brother and sister. When Margaret’s financial advisor became concerned that she was overburdened, he introduced her to Northwest Trustee & Management Services.

With great relief, she and her family allowed us to remove the burden of financial management of trusts for all four siblings. Eventually, her older brother and sister passed away and we distributed personal assets and liquidated their estates (which included a cherry red 1937 Oldsmobile in mint condition).

In a few years we noticed that Margaret’s physical and mental health were declining. We arranged for in-home assistance and began looking at retirement homes. It was a year before she finally decided to move. We packed up her belongings, moved her heirlooms to the retirement home and sold the rest of the property through an estate sale. We hired a contractor to take care of the deferred maintenance and eventually sold the home.

As is often the case, when Margaret could enjoy regular, nutritious meals and medical monitoring, her physical health greatly improved. However, her mental condition continued to decline.

Margaret’s next move was into the assisted living unit where she received increased assistance with her daily living. Ultimately, Margaret’s mental condition deteriorated to the point where she needed the supervision afforded by the Alzheimer’s section of the retirement home.

As Margaret’s attorney-in-fact under a durable power of attorney for health care, we work closely with her physicians and nurses to make sure she receives excellent care. This includes periodic reviews of medications and provision for additional therapies such as a companion for a daily walk. Recently, I had lunch with Margaret to celebrate her 82nd birthday and was privileged to hear her story once more…

“Margaret was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse… .”

Print Date:  Fall 2003