Long-Term Care Insurance
What is LTC and who pays for it? (LTC = Long Term Custodial Care)Long Term Care, is anything having to do with Activities of Daily Living. This can be done in any setting, and has nothing to do with ‘Medicare’ and/or any Medical need. So, if a doctor or social worker tell you that you need LTC, this means you need someone to help you with things like bathing, dressing, meal preparation, housekeeping, transfers, ambulation or medication management, to name a few.
You can have LTC in your own home, in an assisted setting ( Assisted living buildings or smaller residential homes) or in a long-term convalescent home. This is absolutely your choice which will probably depend upon the affordability for the senior.
The costs vary by location and level of care. Medicare DOES NOT pay for this kind of care. This is all privately funded. Supplemental insurance does not pay for any of this either unless you have a designated ‘Long Term Care’ Insurance policy.
Getting Dad to take his Medications
How can I make sure my dad is taking all of his medications, and on time? I live in another state and have no family or friends near him.
Let me say, this is one of the most common problems I hear about, and it is really tough to be in that position with our parents. But, there are several ways to accomplish this. I will address not only the out of state issues but also include ‘how to’ for folks in town. It could be as simple as a phone call daily.
First, if dad is alert or maybe has just a tad bit of Dementia creeping in, you can easily call him daily or a couple of times a day and have a nice chat with him, and use this as a time to ‘remind’ him to take them. This way you get to have extra ‘dad’ time and he would, I am sure, love to hear from you daily. This goes for both in town and out of town parents. You can even say dad I am going to start calling to remind you. I find that a lot of seniors find it helpful for their kids to do that, but would ‘never’ ask you to.
Make sure you know when he gets his prescriptions filled and he tells you how they are supposed to be taken. For those in town, count the medications and use a medi-box. Put the pills in and then weekly you can check to see if they are being taken, you can also call daily to do reminders.
Second, There are great products on the market today where you can load the pills into slots and then set timers when the need to be taken, the slots open and there they are on time. They usually shut within 20 minutes so that the senior does not double dose when the next pills are to be taken. These are good for families in town as well as out of town.
With this method you would need to set up (for those who live in town) yourself, or arrange either a home visiting nurse (Home Health) to set the medicine in the slots, or hire a Geriatric Care Management team to help. This serves two purposes, one to see if he actually ‘takes’ the pills or if there is some other medical issues going on possibly with memory. You know the saying you can lead a person to the coffee machine but you can’t make them drink it.
Geriatric Care Management teams can assist with this type of problem and can be your eyes and ears when you live so far away. They range in price, so do your homework. Get the most for your money.
What is respite care? Where can I get it? How much does it cost?
Wow! A three part-er. Well here goes, and don’t expect an easy answer.
Respite is defined as ‘a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant’. synonyms: rest, break, breathing space, interval, intermission, interlude, recess, lull, pause, time out… I could go on, but suffice to say.
Now where can you get it and how much it costs depends on many things.
For some, it could be catching 40 winks after a long night caring for someone with Alzheimer’s who is Sundowning. Or the quiet when that same person finally gets so tired they fall asleep and you can hear yourself think.
It could be going for a cup of coffee with a trusted friend or loved one. Or a long bath with the phone off, the daily routine put on hold no phones, TV or kids, parents, no responsibilities.
It could be, taking a walk, talking on the phone without interruptions, having some wine at the end of a rough day. You see it is different for everyone.
For caregivers, and don’t get me wrong, this one is for women…we become caregivers the moment we get married, am I right here? Then we care for kids, grandkids and ultimately for our parents and sometimes grandparents. But let’s get to the meat of this dialog shall we…
For a primary caregiver, whether you are caring for someone 24/7 or just the beginning stages you feel alone. You don’t think that anyone else can really ‘get’ what you are going through. But as I described above, so many people can actually ‘get’ what you are going through (women here) because we are programed to (to coin a phrase) Just do It!
And that means, we don’t (or shouldn’t) complain or ask for help, we are supposed to do this, lovingly and freely.
Don’t get me wrong, I know just as many men who are caring for children, parents, spouses and so on, so I don’t want to sound as if they are not just as caring or frazzled, but women seem to be ‘expected’ to do the caregiving and it is as if society believes we are born with the caregiving gene.
So how do we ask for and get help? If you read anything here, it will be that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
You just need to ask for the help. My associate said something the other day which makes so much sense. She said, “We should have a co-op, where we share caregiving with other care givers…like when moms share the onus of taking care of kids.”
You know, like when, Bob and Mary want to go to a movie Friday night and have no family around, so they call Angie and Jon, who take the kids for the night. Then the following week, Sally and Jon go to dinner and take Bob and Mary’s kids for them.
This seems so simple, and it could work with senior care, but if we don’t have that system in place now, so what do we do?
There are several things we can set in place and they range in price from $0 to thousands of dollars.
Usually we can turn to family and share the responsibilities, but what if they say no, what if they are in denial about the situation? Or, what if they live out of the area and can’t? Then we turn to friends, yes? If you have good friends they will be happy to help. But they have lives too. How then do we get that respite?
There are agencies where you can find volunteers who are training to come and sit with seniors, to give you that nap, bath time, walk, coffee/wine out with a friend. Then we have care giving agencies, non- medical, trained people who can come and do companion care for 2 to 4 hours at a time. They also provide 24/7 care for someone who needs to be at home, for a longer vacation.
Sometimes when Alzheimer’s or certain dementias are involved, there are day care programs where activities are planned to keep the senior active during the daytime so they sleep at night. These range in price from about $45 to $100 a day. The pricing is for ½ day to full day programs. The Alzheimer’s Association has grants to provide funding for a respite as well. We can share that information with you.
If you are in need of a longer respite, like a long weekend or a real vacation, say a week or two. We have assisted living facilities, both large and small who will do a short stay providing 24/7 care with meals etc. for the duration. These run from $100 a day up to $275 per day and sometimes more depending on the type and area.
But the bottom line is, you have to share your grief with others to start the process of asking for help. You have to stop feeling ‘guilty’ for wanting some time to yourself. When we have kids and have that burnout they say we are going through ‘post-partum blues’ and we feel guilty that we want that adorable crying baby to ‘stop crying’ and we learn to deal with it. But we shouldn’t have to, as society has finally acknowledged, and new moms now ask for help.
But what do we call this? ‘Caregiver Burnout’ just doesn’t cover it really. But until we coin that phrase, we call it just that.
How do we ask for help, where do we find help, how do we get through the night?
How do we stop feeling guilty thinking thoughts that society would judge us for, Oh yes I have and am there now. I know the thoughts, the prayers that we pray because we are afraid to tell anyone how tired I am sometimes.
I too shed the tears at night because the guilt won’t allow me to ‘tell anyone’ what those prayers contain. The guilt needs to be put on the shelf and we need to ask for help.
But, if you don’t know where or how to start that process don’t despair, we can help.
You are not alone! askjaynie is here for you.