Should we bother to apply for Medicaid? - AgingCare.com

Should we bother to apply for Medicaid?

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I have brought down h*ll on myself by inadvertently reporting myself to a Michigan elder abuse hotline. Michigan's 800-number for anything-eldercare caused my call's referral to my 96-year-old Dad's county elder abuse service. What a fiasco. Michigan people -- NEVER call any state elder-focused agency without knowing you may open an abuse case. Michigan people -- Michigan uses a single 1-800 number for elder everything. Watch out for that.


First, our VA/Medicaid planning-certified elder attorney did not answer calls (my four voicemails for follow-up advice re the "changes" he recommended we call for including change of living status), for which we indicated we would pay. We signed his documents in January 2011, and paid for all eldercare documents that are now over five years old.


Dad (now 96), pays out each month, for homecare, more than his combined income by $10K/year (I am his VA Fiduciary and DPOA). The only reason he can stay in his beloved home is because my sister and I pay all bills beyond ADL care. ADL-and-medical care is $55K+/year, for which his thankful pensions and VA A&A barely cover. Sister's baby cam increasingly shows Dad doesn't sleep at night, though he is so dependable and never leaves his chair nor bed after 2 a.m.


Should we bother to attempt for Medicaid? Mostly we'd be hoping for someone to sleep with an alert, or do student homework and monitor him, passively, from Midnight through approximately 9 a.m.


September 2015 I received AC advice to contact State of Michigan re eldercare resources, and thereby unwittingly opened a Michigan case of Elder Abuse, because nobody was "there with Dad" at night. I spent the next year and a half defending that we did not abuse Dad. It was a nightmare. I really don't want to phone any state or county agency, if I can help it.


Does he make too much at $32,148/year pension plus VA A&A $21,528? With annual caregiving expense of $55K+? We have spent so much in time and money, for his care, that our own elder years are shot.


I am reading more frequently that staying at home is the best, most humane, lease resource drain on government, if a person can do that. Dad seems ideal, as he does not wander, is not a behavioral problem, and has good habits. But we lie awake at night, knowing he is alone, and knowing we have betrayed Family Values by not moving in with him. Dad WANTS TO STAY IN HIS HOME, and his county's guardian ad litum said he is competent to make that decision.


Dad was in Nuclear Occupation. VA has "destroyed" any records that show Navy was there outside of "hot" times (National Archives attests there are no records for his lobotomy and breakdown). I have lymphoma. Sister has severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and various blood disorders. Dad attests to patrolling the Hiroshima grounds and smelling the place 50 miles out at sea, was the first ship to arrive. Dad is steller, but we are so very tired and haven't been able to spend time together in over five years (as we try to stagger our increasingly infrequent trips to Dad's). We love our Dad, but feel that our sputtering-visits do not help him anymore. Emotional/legal/financial advice appreciated.


PS, haven't written in a long time because my own husband, a Korean vet, 84, has had triple bypass/valve replacement (2015) and triple laminectomy (2016) and simply comes first before Dad, because a visit to Dad would mean that I leave husband alone for three days (commute two days, spend a day with Dad). Sister (60 in May 2017), can no longer drive long distances. We are so fortunate to have an incredible caregiver, who picks up Dad during ice storms and lets him sleep at her home.


But we see writing on the walls of our mutual loved-one relationships. Any words or ideas? I belonged to AC Borderline group (I thought that was my biggest problem), but this has gone way beyond the psychological damage. I now get that my Mom, crazy-mean, was dealing with much more than I knew (as she ejaculated as she lay dying and cursing us for our neglect).

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My Mother's Doctor's Really Valuable Advice: (Really helped give me Clarity!) He said "SAFETY IS FIRST -- (above health or happiness) because if your Mother is not safe, nothing else counts. She is 95 now ...Independent Living/Assisted Living, and then began wandering (dementia), now MemoryCare. This is what the equity in your loved one's house pays for: Safety, Care, and with the right residence, happiness. (And help for the children who are helping the folks.)
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In Michigan, there is no waitlist for home based services, you just have to apply for Medicaid. Once approved, you pick your waiver agency, either one of the area on agencies or the 3rd party one in your area. There was a law passed and the agency has 48 hours to come do a needs assessment then a few days to schedule services. I would personally choose from experience the area on aging, the 3rd party company is a pain in the a$$ and have their own home health company which they will push on you and they are unreliable. They will also try to push your fathers care on you, even if its not possible.

The problem you have though is night time wandering. Unless the "primary care giver" (the person your dad says is watching him since hes "competent") works 3rd shift, medicaid will not pay for overnight care. The person i took care of got 70 hours a week only because I couldnt do toileting because of allergies. Alot of other states have different rules and minimums of what can be done.
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If I have this right, 1) you and your sister both live pretty far from him? 2) "We have spent so much in time and money, for his care, that our own elder years are shot" 3)You are beginning to not visit as much because of your own husband's health issues.

I understand that you like the idea of keeping him at his home, but there is a time and a place to say no, and this is it. You tell him the time has come where it's no longer financially feasible, and he must move to a group home closer to your sister or to you where he can be visited and where you know he is cared for 24/7 without spending your own retirement. If that means you sell his house to pay for care and he is left penniless, fine! That's what it is there for. No more worries about elder abuse.
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In understand that you wrote, "Dad seems ideal, as he does not wander, is not a behavioral problem, and has good habits." That's right now. It can change rapidly. I hope you will give higher priority to your and your husband's needs, and consider long term care for your father no matter what his wishes are. I speak from my own experience.
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First off, he may not be eligible because of his income and/or assets.  Secondly, it may be better for you (or someone in your family) to just move in to the house with him!
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I feel for you, I am currently going through this now with my mom. I get very little help from siblings and the POA announced at the end of November last year that mom doesn't have any more money to pay for her own care. So, althought I don't believe that to be true, we won't go into that but this is what I found out.
NY offers Community Medicaid which pays for in home care versus Medicaid which pays for nursing home care. I looked up Michigan and they do offer Community Medicaid, it's called Home and Community Based Services for the Elderly and Disabled (HCBS/ED). It is income based however there are ways around some things. My mom between social security and a small pension brings in $2,300 a month. So, what you need to do is find a Care Manager, they know the ins and outs of applying for different benefits offered through your state. There is a lot to it, and that is why you need to hire someone to help navigate through the paperwork, etc. Honestly, she is not cheap, but it is working out that she is well worth the money when all is said and done. My mom gets to stay home with me which was the goal.
The end result, although I'm still in the process, was mom's application was accepted and they have approved for 24/7 in home care. They pay for the care through different agencies in the area. It's way too much info to put in this forum but here is the website for Michigan that explains: payingforseniorcare. Also here is the website for the care manager I use here in New York, this might help you understand what she does and then you will have an idea on what you are looking for: hurleycaresolutions
Possible ways to find a care manager: I found mine through mom's attorney, office of the aging, agencies in your area where you can hire home health aides privately-they often times know of the good care managers. I hope this help. I believe there is absolutely a way for you to figure something out. You are paying so much money out of your own pocket, there surely is a better way for you to help your dad. Good luck. Take care of yourself. Let us know how you make out. I don't know if there is a way for you to reach out to me, but I'd be glad to share everything I have learn so far. I'm at the stage of finding/hiring the aides for the 24/7 care.
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I would attempt to find a live in "care giver", someone who just does supervisory, call 911 if he falls, that sort of thing. Let a mature responsible person live there for free, in exchange for being there overnight in case he needs anything. They could use a baby monitor, so they don't have to stay up all night. I have cancelled Medicaid for my mom because the agencies were all unreliable and unprofessional. After what she pays, I pay about $30k per year to cover expenses. It has wiped me out over the last 10 years, and I no longer have any savings or retirement fund or investments, but she is safe and happy in her own home. Look into any way you can save money. If he owns his home, could the county forgive his real estate taxes, or suspend them until the house is sold, and then you pay them out of the proceeds? Could he get a reverse mortgage? Could you source some of his food from church food pantries from time to time? Is there an adult daycare in that area that could pick him up and entertain and feed him for the day? In my area, Norfolk, VA, it runs about $65 /day, and they have activities, and feed them lunch and snacks. They are generally gone from about 8-10 am til about 3-5 pm, and it runs Monday through Friday, except holidays. I really feel for you, as I have been dealing with these issues for about 10-12 years, but try to appreciate any little blessings each day.
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You might want to check out the availability of Medicaid at home in your state and in your area. In ours the waitlists vary by area and the money for 15-20 hours of home health care/week is not expected to last past August. There is an alternative of up to 50 hours/week of Community Attendant Services. Perhaps that is also available in Michigan.
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Pam and Tacy, a belated thank you for your input. Pam, I may have been inaccurate in that Dad was being interviewed by what I thought was a guardian ad litum, but perhaps it was a social worker or psychologist appointed by the court to determine Dad's competency. The reply from the court was that Dad passed competency "good enough" (my words) to stay at home if he chose to.

My mind and daily routines get overwhelmed. It can take me days to figure my next rational move. Slow motion seems to be allowing my body/mind to find a place to relax and get perspective.

Today, I realize I really have to be firm with Dad's Medicaid/VA planning lawyer, but I'm dreading the $$ output and the multiple cans of worms it will raise.

I have no idea how you two could even try to help me untangle my overload and long ramble of self pity. But thank you.
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Michigan social workers and our system suck and yes they will try to force you into things you do not want to do...been there. Get a lawyer and get yourself out of the situation. I dont know your financial status but you can call Elder Law of Michigan for advice on your situation. Since your husband is also ill, you can ask your doctor for an order for a social worker to help mediate any potential situations on your behalf. I would try to get as many resources as possible on your side. I have personally spent alot of money on lawyers trying to fight someone elses wish that they be allowed to stay in their home when they shouldnt be allowed to and state of michigan programs trying to force my hand. Walk away from it all.
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