… a 3 minute read
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My notes and files are filled with stories of sons and daughters who for one reason or another failed to plan for their parent’s caregiving, aging and convalescence issues, and suddenly found themselves in a never-ending healthcare version of the twilight zone.
When a crisis happens ( and it will…) and you are not ready for it, you are now totally involved in isolated fashion while immediately confronted with all the things you don’t know, all the capabilities you don’t have, and then become paralyzed by the scope and the scale of the situation.
As you recover from the initial shock of having to make a thousand decisions at once in a short period of time, in an area you are not competent in, your frustration and hopelessness will grow, while your parents are at risk of not getting the right care at the right time.
I know I’m painting what may seem to you like a pretty grim picture of what’s to come. But that’s exactly how it goes down!
The good news is… It doesn’t have to be this way.
A simple and effective plan will get you and your Mom squared away (and by squared away I mean safe, with clear direction, and in capable hands) in a reasonable time…”IF” you know what to do!
Even with the best planning… Yes, it will be stressful. No, it won’t be fun. Yes, you’ll be temporarily disoriented, but you won’t be lost and not knowing what to do!
So what I wanted to share with you today is a very simple and easy to implement strategy that will help you plan your parent’s caregiving in a way that gets them the quality care and direction they need, and suits your lifestyle.
Remember, PLANNING AHEAD is the key strategy.
There are numerous factors to consider when a family member can no longer live alone because of medical condition such as Alzheimer’s, a stroke, a heart attack, or Parkinson’s disease.
You’ll need to consider potential care facility services, home care, insurance coverage, care management, finances, etc.
Right now you need to be asking these questions (apply to yourself and or a parent) :
- What are the short term and long term effects of my parent’s medical condition?
- Will their Insurance be enough to cover, and do they qualify for government benefits?
- What is affordable and also considered quality care?
- How long will their savings last if they need to use them for medical care?
- What other options are there I’m not aware of?
Take stock of your parent’s finances
- Cash on hand
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts.
- Certificates of Deposit
- Stocks, and bonds
- Mutual funds
- Money market accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Annuities (surrender value)
- Loans receivable (IOUs due to your parent)
- Business and partnership equity
- Precious metals and collectibles
- Real Estate
- Vested pension plans, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and tax sheltered
- Taxes due
- Credit cards and balances due
- Car loans
Getting this checklist ready can help you keep track of the assets your parents have and what they need to protect!
Create a Long Term Care Custom Plan in 3 Easy Steps
STEP 1–– INFORMATION
Find a local elderly resource center and contact their community liaison or social worker. Have your parent’s insurance information ready and tell them your story briefly.
These local resources have a wealth of information at their disposal, and will often help and guide families through this process.
You can also reach out to a local Home Health Agency, ask to speak to an administrator or the owner (…no one else on this first call!), tell them your story and ask them if they could run an eligibility report on your parent.
The eligibility report is a Meca Report (Medicare) and a Mevsnet Report (Medicaid)
They Home Care Agency has to do this regardless, but it shows them that you know your stuff and brings you at eye-eye level with them!
This report will detail every instance or service where your parent’s Social, Medicare or Medicaid number has been used.
The eligibility report also helps us assess in real-time the status of eligibility for your parent.
As long as you can provide proper id and are the primary caregiver you can request them to share this report with you and ask that someone at the agency explains it to you in layman’s terms.
If you are unclear about your parent’s insurance benefits, homecare agencies can be of incredible value in guiding you to make the best decisions regarding your loved ones long term care needs.
If the agency is unwilling to take the time and help you with this don’t get frustrated, dump them and keep looking for one that will.
STEP 2–– OPTIONS
Now you have all the information. It’s time to figure out what your options are.
It’s really simple –If your parent has Alzheimer’s and they have Medicare HMO with X-INSURER and no Medicaid for example, you will not get covered for personal care (bathing, feeding, dressing, etc.)
If they do have Medicaid, then we need to find out what type and if it covers the personal care volume that you require.
If your parent doesn’t have Medicaid, it may be time to consider other options.
Ask the Home Health Agency if they can help you find out if your parent qualifies for a State Sponsored Long Term Care Program. The agency can provide you with the right contact people and be of help throughout the application process with guidance and support.
This process can take up to 6 months or longer.
In our area, Miami Florida, this would be the Alliance for Aging. They do amazing work with local families.
Self-pay would be another option, it best works with at least another primary payer source, but many times self-pay is the only way families have to get personal care services to their loved one.
It’s time to make a decision. You’ve educated yourself and have the correct information, you’ve weighed your options, now it’s time to make a decision and get the help you so desperately need.
By now you have an idea what your team looks like and you feel confident that they are working on your behalf.
If you understand your options then act with confidence and move forward.
Here is a 5 point checklist to help you take action:
If you checked all 5 you are ready to go!
My genuine hope is that this report helps you understand the options that best fit your circumstances.
I’ve tried to give away as much as I can, and now is up to you to keep this rolling, just remember you don’t have to go it alone.
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Also, if you thought this article helped you in any way, please share 🙂Claudio Alegre is the CEO & Chief Content Writer for Angel Home Care Services on the Web and Patient and Family Advocate off the Web. He lives in Miami with his wife and 3 boys. He's passionate about healthcare and all things caregiving. He can be reached at [email protected] or directly at 305.220.4544
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