Advice Please About Assisted Living for My Dad

ingrid_vcAugust 27, 2011

At this time my 90-year-old father, who is showing increasing signs of dementia and is incontintent, has been cared for in his home by a lady who says she can no longer perform this increasingly difficult task. One problem is that he leaves the apartment at night looking for her, and he has recently flooded his apartment by pushing his diapers down the toilet. We are having to seriously consider an assisted living facility, but the problem is that my dad has very little money of his own at this point and my brother and I will have to take a considerable part in financing his stay at such a facility. We were told that Medical would only come into play if he had to go into a nursing home because he needed nursing care, was intubated, bed-ridden, etc. We were told there was no financial assistance from the government in a case such as ours, and it would be our responsibility to take care of his assisted care costs. I'm left wondering what happens to seniors in his position who have no children or other relatives or whose children are barely making ends meet themselves, and are unable to help out financially. Can anyone answer these questions for me? This is new territory for us and any help would be very much appreciated.

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Ingrid, are you in California (from your Page info)? Contact you local Area Agency on Aging or the Ombudsman Program (nursing home advocates). In my area, our agency handles counseling people in your situation. Yes, Medi-Cal can and will pay for assisted living, but it can be complicated.

Our service are free, so I'd expect the same where you are. It's county by county, and may go by different names in each area, but this is where to start.

Here is a link that might be useful: state website

    Bookmark   August 27, 2011 at 5:56PM
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Also check out the Caregivers Forums, Lots of good info there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Caregivers forum

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 11:23AM
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I know there is a brand new facility in McKineyville CA for people with dementia. If you are near the bay area, there should be places, plus Tracy has places. You might also try to contact the Alzheimer's Assoc. Our senior citizens group had a person from the Association come and talk to us and she said there are people who help find good places to stay.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 4:39PM
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It sounds like he needs a care home instead of an assisted living facility. In a care home he would have to pay the bills until his assets were used up then he would go on Medicaid. My husband was admitted to a care home because he had AZ. He could take care of himself physically, but his memory was gone. A representative from the care home I chose came to our home and did an evaluation and admitted him.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 10:52PM
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I doubt your father is appropriate for an Asst. Living facility. I think vala55 is correct, he needs the more extensive caretaking of a licensed nursing facility or care home.

>>We were told that Medical would only come into play if he had to go into a nursing home because he needed nursing care, was intubated, bed-ridden, etc. >>

Firstly, there is a difference between Medicare and Medicaid, which in CA is known as Medi-Cal. Medicare pays for LTC and home care ONLY under limited scenarios and for a short length of time - it is almost exclusively for recovering convalescence situations. Your father doesn't sound as if he falls under such guidelines, since he's only going to get worse, not better.

Medi-Cal pays for indigent care, including facility care. 60-80% of nursing home residents are paid for by Medicaid services. Your dificulty will be in finding a suitable facility for your father and putting him there. Often there are waitlists, especially for better facilities. Many top-rated facilities will not take Medicaid patients at all.

This is where using resources such as Area Agency on Aging and various websites will help. You do have to face the fact that your father is only going to decline, so getting him into a good facility where he can be properly cared for - your family visits will help a lot in this respect by putting the staff 'on notice' that your father has family advocates who want him to be taken care of - and one that accepts Medi-Cal patients, is critical.

Good luck to you, this is a difficult situation, especially in these days of state budget cuts.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 3:57PM
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Not certain if it still applies but when my dad had a serious stroke the hospital's own patient services warned us not to sign anything with our own names but to sign dad's name then by our names until we could get a power of attorney or in his case guardianship.

By doing this the family was not needed to pay for his care. In dad's case he had suffient funds to pay for his own care. However I have seen many families that feel honor bound to take care of their elderly at the expense of their children. If there are several in the family that contribute families can manage without going into debt and perhaps having to file bankruptcy.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 10:30PM
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It would take a lot of family members to come up with $4,000. plus which is what it cost us when my husband went in. That did not even include meds. I found the best care homes were in the small towns outside our city. They know most of their patients, some of them for years. Another thing to do is asked the patients sitting in the lobby if they are happy there. Watch for people sitting there watching TV and laughing together. Also ask if you can have a meal there, if their food is good, the care usually is.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 7:37PM
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Hi Ingrid.
Four years ago I was where you are now. I moved into my Mother's home to avoid her having or at least delaying the need to move to assisted living. Your very best source for information is your local chapter of Alzheimer's Association. They are here to serve caregivers! No charge to you. They also offer an immense amount of emotional support. While I avoided group sessions only because I was fortunate to have a close circle of friends to whom I could vent and solicit advice (they lost their Moms to AZ)but it could be helpful to those who do not. It sounds like you are a distance from your Father; your local chapter of Alzheimer's Association could help you as well as the local chapter where your Father is located. Assisted living facilities are not the only source. A cheaper source are group homes; the latest and affordable alternative. Be sure to scrutinze very carefully. They fall under the radar of all overseeing authorities. However, there are good ones out there. Another source that is extremely helpful are geriatric counseling. This resource can be free to you; and is funded by municipal monies. Your Alzheimer's Assoc. can find out for you. I learned this through my local chapter. I hsd a geriatric counselor assess my situation. They are very good at identifying your immediate and near future needs for your Father and independently, what you, or whomever is the caregive would need; and help to fill those needs. Best of luck. It's a long road ahead; I'm glad I got to spend the time with my Mom. I said my goodbyes each time she reached a pivotal point. My grieving was eased having done so. Warning: siblings can show their ugly side during this time!!! ykes!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:09PM
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