Caretaker Tuesday…Finding a place for them to live

I know that my caretaker posts can be depressing for some. For that reason I keep thinking I am going to stop, then someone will contact me and tell me how much the posts have helped them. I have been given this story and an avenue to share it for a reason, so I feel compelled to do so.

Today I would like to talk to you about looking for a place for your loved one to live. Often, when a loved one is being released from the hospital we often want to try to bring them home …even if we know deep down that it’s not going to work. That’s a noble thought, but if you go to a nursing home right out of the hospital, Medicare will pay your nursing home bills for 90 days. ( I am remembering back a few years on these details so don’t sue me if my facts are a bit off) Three months is a lot of money when we are talking health care. I am not saying you should put someone in the nursing home if you have a better option…just put that into the equation.

When people are going to be released from the hospital, a case worker will come and decide what kind of help will be needed. Educate yourself before this time comes.

They will often get the wheels turning pretty quickly if you don’t already have a plan in place. Remember, your choices are not limited just because your loved one needs a Medicaid bed. Every nursing home has these beds, they look just like every other bed. The problem is they don’t have many of them.

If you have some choices, here are a few things to consider…

1. If there is a new place in town, go check it out. Wouldn’t you rather live in the nice new place?

2, Remember, you are probably going to be spending a lot of time at this place, so make sure it is handy for you. I remember thinking that I was fine driving 20 minutes to see mom and dad, but many people told me to put them closer. They were right. It was great being able to just drop by for a minute or two as I had the time.

3. If you don’t like the smell or the workers, keep looking.

4. If you can bring someone with you, it will help lighten the mood.

You will hate the first place you visit. It won’t be good enough for your loved one. It will be depressing and upsetting.

I have heard that some cities have businesses that will pick you up at the airport and take you on a tour of all the facilities in the area. I have no idea how much they charge, but if you don’t know the area I would think this would be a huge help.

If one of these businesses is not available to you, try stopping at a local church. Pastors visit many of these places. They might have some insight that they would be willing to share.

Remember that your loved one has had a life, which means they probably have people near by that care about them. A neighbor? Best friend? Bible study? If you are out of town those people could become very valuable to you.

I remember once that my parent’s phone was busy for the longest time. My imagination grew with each passing minute. Lucky for me I had their neighbor’s phone number. She quickly found out that their phone was just off the hook.

One last thought…always laugh..because the only other option is to cry.


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One Response to Caretaker Tuesday…Finding a place for them to live

  1. HeatherM

    Such a great post! My aunts and uncles are struggling with this versus an in-home caregiver for my grandparents. Do you have any experience with trying an in-home caregiver service and tips to make that relationship work? Many people say individuals with dementia do better with a live-in caregiver where possible, because they can’t learn their way around a new facility very well, but they often still know their way around their home of 50+ years.
    Illinois has a program called the family caregiver assistance program. Basically they will pay for a full-time in-home caregiver for the elderly, because it is cheaper than paying for a state Medicaid bed.
    Another thing to consider with Medicaid beds is that if you have 2 parents with unique sets of needs (like my grandpa who has advanced dementia & needs a locked unit, and my grandma who is very unsteady on her feet but still sharp as a tack) they may be placed on different units or even in different facilities. This happened to my great aunt and great uncle. They spent the last year of his life in different facilities 15 miles from each other, and she only finally saw him the day before he died. This is a big part of our motivation to try the in-home caregiver route first- because we are afraid my grandparents could be split up in the process, and that would be devastating for them.
    Last but not least, remember Medicare is a federal program, but Medicaid is a state-run program. This means the services and eligibility for Medicaid vary quite a bit from state to state. Contacting your local Area Agency on Aging is a good place to start to find out local services in your community and your state.

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