Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My Mom's Journey

I wrote a piece here on June 6 about my mom.

We can call this the next installment.

Up until just a little over a month ago, my mom was as mentally alert as you could ever hope for any 88 year old, and sharper than many.  Then, almost overnight, that changed and she's now been diagnosed with dementia.

Her doctor was going to prescribe something that he believes will help with her memory issues, but then she had some tummy issues which put that on hold.

But, I should be able to pick up her new prescription tomorrow and get her started and hope for the best.

She is still in her own apartment and I go by every day or two to check on her and do what needs to be done.

Not an ideal situation, but it's the best we can do right now.

She knows who we are, she knows where she is, she knows her memory sucks and she gets frustrated about not understanding some things, but is still lucid enough to understand most things.

In the meantime, I've been calling around asking questions about things like assisted living facilities, nursing homes, Medicare, Medicaid - all things I knew nothing about one month ago, and with some of the different answers I'm receiving from different agencies, I'm still not sure I know any more than I did.

One local agency told me that they felt as though one of our local assisted living facilities might be just the place, so I made an appointment and I went.

It was one of the worst experiences of my life.

Within minutes of being there, I felt hopeful and relieved for the first time in weeks.  We went from "I've got a bed right now available for your mother," to "I'm sorry we aren't able to help you" in less than one hour's time and walked out feeling like I had been punched in my stomach.

The assisted living section sounded perfect, at least for awhile.

The diminished memory section is where mother would be moving eventually, I'm sure, but I don't think she's there yet.

And, the diminished memory section is covered by Medicaid once Mother's money would run out in the assisted living section - which would be fairly quickly.

Everything was upbeat until we got to finances.  At that point, honestly, the story changed so dramatically I was dumbfounded.  

We went from "there's no buy-in, and there's no lease, it's all month to month," to "well, she doesn't have enough money to keep her in Assisted Living for a year - she would need to do that."

We went from "we will come out and do an assessment with you and your mom and make the determination as to whether or not we think she needs to be in memory care," to "well, since she's living on her own and is still doing so much for herself, she's not going to be able to be approved for memory care.  Even if we tried to get her in there, Medicaid would come do an assessment once she's here and they would, I'm sure, disapprove it." and then, I guess, she would be asked to leave.  

So.  Because there's no profit in it for them, that bed that had my mother's name on it, according to them, is no longer available.  

I called the agency who had initially given me the name of the facility when I got home because I wanted them to know that things weren't exactly as they thought they would be.  When I shared my story with them they were stunned.

They called the facility this morning and when they hung up the phone, they were still under the same impression they were originally.  Sadly,  that impression is, in fact, not entirely correct in a face to face, let's talk finances, meeting.

It's a for-profit facility - I get that.  Unfortunately, my mom and dad were never wealthy people.  And now my mom has almost outlived her money.  BUT, she's over the limit for Medicaid help.

Not for a lot longer though at the rate things are going.

Her new hearing aid should be arriving any day and there will go a couple thousand.

She needs new glasses.  My latest exam and new lenses without new frames came to $700, so we're looking at that as an expenditure.

Today I called another agency with a title that makes it sound as though they would be able to help by at least giving guidance, but told me instead that they were not allowed to counsel, only tell me the guidelines for Medicare and Medicaid limits.

I asked if they had a list of assisted living facilities and nursing homes they could send me and she said, no she was sorry but she didn't.  She named a couple, but I found more through the yellow pages than what she was able to give me.

Honestly, I'm at wit's end.  I have never felt so helpless, so overwhelmed and so stymied in my entire life and I can't quit crying.

So.  That's where we are on this journey that seems to have no end or resolution.  And the only thing I can do is cry and write about it.

Send some good thoughts our way, please.

No comments: