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I'm now responsible for three people's jobs. The state supreme court just announced that they have formed a task force to address abuse, fraud, etc. for the elderly. I sent them an email about protecting caregivers' too, and they responded to me!!! They want me to write them a letter and there was mention of hearings, to hear first hand from individuals. I have been sick for 3 weeks out of 4. I am tired to say the least. I need to find someone that can help me put this letter together. I need someone that knows what it is like to be a caregiver while working full-time. I need someone that will know how to address, communicate, with supreme court judges. Does anyone have any suggestions? I can foresee myself being taken out of the office in a stretcher in the future.

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Be aware that your medical insurance may end up self pay if you do not earn income from your job to cover it.

Talk to your union representative. See if job sharing is an option, just make sure you do not loose your insurance coverage if you went to part time. Maybe one of the support staff who used to work with you gets insurance through a spouse, and you can work enough hours to keep yours. I would not talk to the bosses, they might see this as you advising them you are unable to perform your job tasks.

And yes, they might be forcing you out. From their point of view, frequent absences are disruptive, and expensive (they pay your benefits even if you are not there working, when you take sick time they pay you and the person who is covering you...etc.) Never the less, I think a company needs to earn the employee's loyalty. You seem to have great skills in their minds if you are able to do three jobs. With your union rep, maybe you can leverage these skills in a way that says you are committed to making the company work well. Offer them what they might need, and there might be wiggle room for compromise.

If you mom has money, hire a "granny nanny" to take over some functions from you. After all, that is what she earned her money for, to take care of her in her old age. Unless you have billions, it is sadly no longer about leaving a family inheritance. The cost of things has increased too much over time. Talk to an elder estate attorney if there is land or home in this. They can find a way to protect those things. Don't mess up your future (insurance, health, pension, social security benefits that you will need to live on when you are old). She sounds pretty functional currently. Let helpers help.
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You may want to go on the site Family Care Alliance, and see any resources they have. I have complained to my state government, and some of the problem is locally - lack of leadership with people who have been in their position for too long and are complacent about getting help for caregivers. If you get a chance to appear before a committee- go for it! (I could tell them plenty!)

There is also a petition on right now to help caregivers get their social security benefits while they are out of work or having to cut hours,and for those who have had to stop working that would provide ss benefits to caregivers. It is :thepetitionsite/takeaction/769/176/399/
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LTKat - about someone to work with you on the statements regarding caregiving. I'd suggest you contact a university or college in your state and specifically send a email to the Dean of whatever division has Bachelor & Masters programs in Social Work & also to the faculty head of the SW programs . For the MSW they have to do a thesis and a "progress" project or progress story like what you are needing help with is ideal for a graduate student. The interacting with elected officials is a big plus too in a grad student finding your project interesting.

Also if your state has a Health Science Center that has a medical school & biomedical sciences graduate programs, perhaps contact them too. The medical school will have a gerontology program for the MD's but there also could be others like MD / MPH duals that need to do masters thesis within that speciality too.This time of the year is ideal as classes just started so the students are getting with their advisors to identify possible thesis. Your needs almost are a gift with a bow on it as the project timeframe can easily be done with a 2 year master's program and there is existing legislation & existing program data for them to workup for the background part of the thesis. Good luck.
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I also took a bunch of 2 to 3 hrs off, to meet Mom and her Caregiver at physical therapy and doctor appts. We no longer have PT appointments. I haven't had to take any leave without pay yet. If employees are entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave....then I've GOT THEM.
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You are right, loridtabbykat, "The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave a year, and requires group health benefits to be maintained during the leave as if employees continued to work instead of taking leave. Employees are also entitled to return to their same or an equivalent job at the end of their FMLA leave." [source: dot.gov/whd/fmla]

FMLA doesn't apply to every business. The business needs to have 50 or more employees. Some employers might have an employee insurance, such as Aflac, which pays part of your salary while you are using FMLA.
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The FMLA is just incase I have to fly Mom up for any further surgeries. We are flying out Oct 5th/6th for her 2nd follow-up for her 3rd surgery. I guess I don't know what FMLA is. I thought it was just there to insure they couldn't fire me due to absence from work.
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I do have FMLA, but I've been working. At most I took about three weeks off, two weeks after her first two surgery, one week after her third surgery. Mom does not qualify for Medicade because she had more than $2,000 in her account. Yes, what used to be four different positions, is now all my responsibility. My boss, his boss, used to help me support our computer system. My boss and his boss used to take care of another system, without any help from me, and that is now mine as well. So I've lost support from two positions, been given the duties of a 3rd computer system, and now they want me to do the duties of a fourth position. So my original job, plus their jobs, and now they want to add another position to my work load.
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No, Pam. I know her from some other threads. She is okay. It is just the title and subject matter didn't match... at least not in a way that I can figure out.
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I'm so confused, I thought the poster was over worked, but instead she is on FMLA leave. Then as soon as I asked why Mom can't get Medicaid she disappears entirely. Was that a Troll?
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For FMLA, the max is12 weeks within an one year time frame. Twenty-six weeks during a single 12-month period to care for a covered military troop with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

In my case, I didn't use any of my FMLA for caring for my parents, I used my vacation time and sick leave, and non-paid time off. Thank goodness I didn't use FMLA because I needed it for myself when I was diagnosed with a serious illness and had to take a couple months off from work, then after that work half time using half day FMLA.
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June 2015! Your employer is great. I believe that they are only required to give 12 weeks. You must have received an entire year. After reading the title of the thread, I had thought your bosses were being unreasonable in what they were expecting of you.
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Can mom go to respite for a week or more?
Can mom afford to hire some in home care a few hrs a week? Can the dr order PT or nursing care a few days a week?

Take care of you and don't do anything that interferes with your job -- your job with its benefits are most important. If mom is doing better, consider that a blessing. Build on that and help her get the assistance she needs, even if that means moving to AL. She may be eligible for VA spousal financial help, etc to afford the residential costs.

Good luck. Remember take care of you first. Stay employed. Employers can be empathic, but they have a business to run...so you too have to make decision as to if you want to be a caregiver or keep your job, or find a job with flexibility to tend to mom and still be employed. Remember, caring for mom will just get harder and more demanding. Will you be able to keep this up?
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Why not?
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Mom does not qualify for Medicaid.
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Look into "Alaskans Living Independently" (ALI) a Medicaid waiver program that could help with payments to Assisted Living. In an ALF, mom would have company all day and all night and you would get some needed rest.
We found Mom a nice facility that took her in as private pay, and when her funds run out, she can convert to Medicaid. She is no longer complaining about "staring at the four walls".
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Anyone have any more suggestions?
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By the way, I'm on FMLA until June 2015.
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I'm going to start making phone calls next week. I'm going to talk to all the Senior & Disability agencies, so they are aware of the Supreme Court Task Force. I'm going to email my Union about my employer today, they're closed until Monday, but I may not have time to email them on Monday. My employer knows I'm a caregiver, they know what I've had to do for the past year as a caregiver.
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im sure proud of you for trying to fix things in our society , lorid . politicians live in a little different world than ours . i know i certainly dont have an office full of help . ive educated representatives about the common persons reality for 35 years and ive never thought it a waste of tine , in fact an indiana senator quoted me one evening on the news . if the timing of your correspondence is right , its hard to ignore ..
if you prepare something for your state supreme court id like to see the function of aps changed to an agency for advice and help as opposed to the hateful , strongarm tactics they now use . you cant even phone them , part of their strategy is to keep you squirming and that is added stress to a job thats already stressful enough . i think aps should answer to the primary caregiver and stop this death by silence bullshit that they are known for ..
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loridtabbykat, glad to know your Mom is doing well... are you near a Senior Day Care center? Check out the centers on-line to see if they have activities that your Mom might enjoy, and these centers will supply lunch.... check and see what is the cost. Have you and Mom visit some of the place, you never know but there could be someone there that your Mom knows :)

As for Medicare coving costs, you will need to check with Medicare [medicare.gov], and your Mom's secondary insurance if she has one.
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Thank you. Yes I've contacted politicians, our governor, our mayor, our US Senator. I'm going to press this issue. If a doctor orders in home care, how does that work? Will medicare cover costs? I just left a message with the Disability Law Center. Since it's Saturday, nothing is open. All the Senior and Disabilities offices know me, but they are only open Mon - Fri, which are work days. Mom is doing well, and her level of need is low. She had multiple surgeries and it was hard, but she is doing good now, however, I'm exhausted. Thank goodness Mom is on the upswing. All she needs now, is something to do while I'm at work. She is a young 76 year old with all her wits about her and no other health problems. She fell a year ago, and required 3 surgeries.
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loridtabbykat, here is a suggestion, contact your U.S. Congressperson from your district, or a State Congressperson from your district and ask him or her if they would be interested in taking on this problem and he/she write to the Judges. Maybe one of them is going through the same thing or know someone close. Or contact your local Agency on Aging, someone there might jump at the chance.

On a positive note, one thing I had noticed is a large jump in the number of newspaper articles regarding elders and Caregivers here in our local newspaper, the Washington Post, which is read by U.S. Congress.

With the first wave of baby boomers reaching retirement age that demographic age-group is going to spike, and society needs to have in place things to help us.

I know in my area there is an upswing in building new retirement villages [55+ and older], and new nursing homes and rehab centers. So someone is taking notice.

Caregivers need more help. It is almost impossible for one person to work three shifts at home caring for a loved one who is on a different pattern than the rest of the world [up all night].

We need a reality show that deals with Caregiving [similar to the Hoarding shows that have many elder hoarders] as these shows bring to light what is happening.
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At some point, you have to save your own life. The state will certainly back up a request for FMLA for caregiving, but it doesn't appear this is your case. What if you call your mother's MD and have him order in home care? What if you call the county senior services and see how they can help? Save your health and save your job, you first for a change.
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