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Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Get the Right Help on Long Term care (Part 1): 5 Initial Things to Know in Caring & Caregiving to your Aging Parent

Her loving companion volunteer provided by Senior Services.  Bless her heart.

When my mom turned 86 I was there with her in a small Camarillo Assisted Living facility with 20 other tenants who can no longer live on their own.  My mom have dementia for 10 years now and thanks to the loving care of California Human Services, Hickory House, Among Friends day care and other Medicaid/Medi-Cal benefits he enjoyed as she aged. 

Until I moved her to Virginia, all of those benefits were cut down and so I have to take some of the duties while she stays in our “in-law” guest room.  Her transition was slow and got into so many bureaucracy and I hope that this blog will help those in the same situation to avoid some of those hurdles and get them prepared to take advantage some of the benefits for aging adults in the Virginia area.

Tip 1:  Apply for Medicaid.

It takes about 45 days before the aging adult take advantage of Medicaid and other Human Services in Virginia area.  Aging adult can only be eligible for Medicaid if income is not enough to pay for basic necessities including rents, medical, etc.  In our case we went through Cover Virginia specifically for Long Term care needs.

If your parent is moving from one state to another, you can try to do this before they move so that there is no waiting period when your adult patient arrives.  Usually this can be done over the phone calling in behalf of your aging parent.

Tip 2:  Join an Adult Day Care.

While still waiting for Medicaid to be approved, there is a process called UAI assessment to determine how many hours of care are needed for the senior adult that needs to be monitored by nursing aid and other help while the actual care-giver (like myself) is busy working.  These day care in Virginia Beach such as PACE program run by Sentara Medical Hospital cost about $4,000 a month but it is free if the adult is approved on Medicaid.  These day care usually have activities and medical services to keep them safe and healthy.

This Christmas season during my birthday with my beautiful wife and help caregiving to mom

Tip 3:  Take Care of Medicare and Social Security Information and Benefits.

Social security provides income to adult to pay for their prescription including wheelchair, some disabled appliance for the patient.  There is typically an annual screening so the address should be updated.

Tip 4:  Reach out to Senior Citizen agencies.

Besides the government Human Services agency there are non-profit organization such as Senior Services of Virginia Beach offers a total of 12 hours (6 hours nursing aid and 6 hours companion) a week for 3 months while waiting for all the benefits (Medicaid, Medicare, SSI) to kick in.

Tip 5:  Create an accordion of Files.

When settling your adult parent doing all these paper work and phone calls can be very overwhelming.  One of the few things I did was create a power of attorney so I can manage everything in behalf of my aging parent. Here are the ABC files you will need to sort in a folder or accordion envelope – preferably alphabetical so it is easier to locate when you get a follow up call 
(just some of the basic):
Mom with my family, Sam heading to his concert.

  1. Benefits (others)
  2. Caregiving agency
  3. Dental
  4. Emergency Contact
  5. Financial Record
  6. Government agency (others)
  7. Health Record
  8. Human Services and Adult Care Agency
  9. Identification (Passport, Medicare and Social Security Card)
  10. Just in Case
  11. Kitchen (Food, groceries, diet)
  12. Lease agreement (rental)
  13. Long Term Care
  14. Medicaid
  15. Medicare
  16. Nursing Aid
  17. Observation (notes for later medical appointment)
  18. Power of Attorney
  19. Prescription
  20. Questions to Doctors and others
  21. Receipts (for later tax and benefits deduction)
  22. Schedule
  23. Senior Day Care
  24. Senior Services Agency
  25. Travel schedule
  26. UAI - Universal Assessment Instrument (needed to get benefits and how many hours the patient will receive the services)
  27. VWXYZ

As I continue to care for mom I sometimes think that the time with her divided my time with my family:  my wife and our son.  We have cut back a lot of the times we do together like travel, party and road trips.  I know it is a temporary sacrifice but every bit helps and so my hope is that this blog and tips will help any future family who are planning to move their aging parents with them or to another state.  If you have more tips and help that was not mention, please share as I update them and of course also to help me expedite my aging mom’s transition as well.

I intentionally did not attached any links or resources as it varies in every state.  You can contact me at this blog or Facebook page if you want any specific as well as your valuable input for readers to share.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Personal Challenges from the cold winter to fall: Cemetery, College, Church, Cameraman, Changes, California, Caregiving and Cease on Christmas

It seems like a lot of Cs came into our life this year before Christmas.  This Christmas day, we cease work and so many things - around the world where we all stay home - reflecting on what has passed and what's at stake in the future.  This one is very personal.

My father passed away in February, a big event as I travelled over 16,000 just to pull the plug of my dad who was in his death bed in pain for over 3 years.  Now his pain is gone, while they open the casket at the cemetery I saw peace in him.  Just like anything else, everything has an end and a new beginning.  Some pain can only last for so long but my dad and people around him who gave care have finally found peace.

While in the Philippines during my dad’s burial was also my last chance to submit my research towards my college with Capella.  It was a long ordeal as I balance everything in the middle of our move to our new home in Virginia Beach two weeks later.  My wife did our final house move on her own as well when we move mom to an assisted living a decade ago while I was deployed.  I’m still pending towards my college courses to publish my research, a continuing challenge.  All credit goes to God and my wife Myla who was always there for me.

As I struggle and get more confuse with our future and seeking answers in life, this was also the time in Spring that we decided to move to another church as we found solace in a nearby church versus our old church where I serve as cameraman in a popular non-denominational Christian church.  This fall, after 7 months we decided to return to our old church as we become more humble and mature in our community service and faith in spite of all our challenges - and hope to do again what I love to do (camera & video).

Summer, we decided to move mom out of her Camarillo California assisted living who gives 24 hour care for mom to live with us in Virginia Beach.  My family gave up those comforts by taking care of mom while she awaits another Assisted Living.   This brought smile to her as she is back to her only living family in the US.  It was not easy as we continue to work on finding her the best caregiving, at least like those she gets while she is in California.

And then it is Christmas, a celebrated season around the world - where and when we pause & cease and reflect the joy and blessings after every challenges.  We seem happy because we are but we have those challenges and pain too and we continue to pray about it.  Many of our friends from Virginia supported my mom’s move with us and provided wisdom and seeing joy in my mom’s eye that she is closer to her family now.

As Christmas season started a few weeks ago and coming to almost an end, we continue to pray that we take this changes, challenges and move on to the next with joy and strength.   These are my wishes to us and to you.  

To all our followers, friends and readers - as we cease the usual things we do to reflect the joy of the season -we wish you Merry Christmas and more festive spirits in the year 2017.