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Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Get the Right Help on Long Term care (Part 1): 5 Initial Things to Know in Caring & Caregiving to your Aging Parent

Her loving companion volunteer provided by Senior Services.  Bless her heart.

When my mom turned 86 I was there with her in a small Camarillo Assisted Living facility with 20 other tenants who can no longer live on their own.  My mom have dementia for 10 years now and thanks to the loving care of California Human Services, Hickory House, Among Friends day care and other Medicaid/Medi-Cal benefits he enjoyed as she aged. 

Until I moved her to Virginia, all of those benefits were cut down and so I have to take some of the duties while she stays in our “in-law” guest room.  Her transition was slow and got into so many bureaucracy and I hope that this blog will help those in the same situation to avoid some of those hurdles and get them prepared to take advantage some of the benefits for aging adults in the Virginia area.

Tip 1:  Apply for Medicaid.

It takes about 45 days before the aging adult take advantage of Medicaid and other Human Services in Virginia area.  Aging adult can only be eligible for Medicaid if income is not enough to pay for basic necessities including rents, medical, etc.  In our case we went through Cover Virginia specifically for Long Term care needs.

If your parent is moving from one state to another, you can try to do this before they move so that there is no waiting period when your adult patient arrives.  Usually this can be done over the phone calling in behalf of your aging parent.

Tip 2:  Join an Adult Day Care.

While still waiting for Medicaid to be approved, there is a process called UAI assessment to determine how many hours of care are needed for the senior adult that needs to be monitored by nursing aid and other help while the actual care-giver (like myself) is busy working.  These day care in Virginia Beach such as PACE program run by Sentara Medical Hospital cost about $4,000 a month but it is free if the adult is approved on Medicaid.  These day care usually have activities and medical services to keep them safe and healthy.

This Christmas season during my birthday with my beautiful wife and help caregiving to mom

Tip 3:  Take Care of Medicare and Social Security Information and Benefits.

Social security provides income to adult to pay for their prescription including wheelchair, some disabled appliance for the patient.  There is typically an annual screening so the address should be updated.

Tip 4:  Reach out to Senior Citizen agencies.

Besides the government Human Services agency there are non-profit organization such as Senior Services of Virginia Beach offers a total of 12 hours (6 hours nursing aid and 6 hours companion) a week for 3 months while waiting for all the benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, SSI) to kick in.

Tip 5:  Create an accordion of Files.

When settling your adult parent doing all these paper work and phone calls can be very overwhelming.  One of the few things I did was create a power of attorney so I can manage everything in behalf of my aging parent. Here are the ABC files you will need to sort in a folder or accordion envelope – preferably alphabetical so it is easier to locate when you get a follow up call 
(just some of the basic):
Mom with my family, Sam heading to his concert.

  1. Benefits (others)
  2. Caregiving agency
  3. Dental
  4. Emergency Contact
  5. Financial Record
  6. Government agency (others)
  7. Health Record
  8. Human Services and Adult Care Agency
  9. Identification (Passport, Medicare and Social Security Card)
  10. Just in Case
  11. Kitchen (Food, groceries, diet)
  12. Lease agreement (rental)
  13. Long Term Care
  14. Medicaid
  15. Medicare
  16. Nursing Aid
  17. Observation (notes for later medical appointment)
  18. Power of Attorney
  19. Prescription
  20. Questions to Doctors and others
  21. Receipts (for later tax and benefits deduction)
  22. Schedule
  23. Senior Day Care
  24. Senior Services Agency
  25. Travel schedule
  26. UAI - Universal Assessment Instrument (needed to get benefits and how many hours the patient will receive the services)
  27. VWXYZ

As I continue to care for mom I sometimes think that the time with her divided my time with my family:  my wife and our son.  We have cut back a lot of the times we do together like travel, party and road trips.  I know it is a temporary sacrifice but every bit helps and so my hope is that this blog and tips will help any future family who are planning to move their aging parents with them or to another state.  If you have more tips and help that was not mention, please share as I update them and of course also to help me expedite my aging mom’s transition as well.

I intentionally did not attached any links or resources as it varies in every state.  You can contact me at this blog or Facebook page if you want any specific as well as your valuable input for readers to share.

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