In Part I, we talked about the need to get home care balanced, using the metaphor of a four-legged school. In that first article, we talked about services that non-medical home care agencies such as Support For Home provide, as one leg, and services that other agencies provide (home safety, mobility equipment, durable medical equipment, trust attorneys, emergency alert systems, and so forth) as the second leg.
Each of those first two legs are absolutely critical, but a stool with only two legs is not going to stand up very well. So, we need to add two other legs to the stool, as shown in the illustration, below:
The other two legs shown in the picture above are also critical to meeting the needs of home care clients and their families.
First, let’s take the most obvious. In our society, non-medical home care, while often critical to the health and well-being of the individual, is not covered by medical insurance, whether private or Medicare or Medicaid. Thus, home care is often referred to as “private pay” or “private duty.”
Some home care clients were very smart and purchased Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) from a reputable company long before they needed to pay for home care. We are big believers in high-quality LTCI programs. There are a number of good companies and representatives out there. One place to take a look is AARP’s program. They are continually reviewing products and companies.
A second source of support for the costs of home care for many of our clients is the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance program. There are both military service and income / asset criteria, but it is truly worth looking into. In California you and your family can get help with that from the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers and the VA has some good FAQs.
The last leg of the stool is often overlooked by home care agencies and family members who see the need for home care so clearly that they don’t really understand – or sympathize with – the resistance many seniors express. My own folks were in their mid-80s and had honestly needed home care for several years before they let us hire an agency where they lived. They needed about 20 hours of help per week, at that time. They would not accept more than 8 hours per week. Period. End of discussion. Back off, buster! 🙂
Basically, my folks had been grown-ups for a long time, with good careers, lots of independence, respect in the local and even state and national “communities” in which they moved. The first take on their resistance was that they were letting pride get in the way of need. To be honest, that was a part of it. However, what took a bit of time to understand was that even after they were able to say, “OK, we need the help,” there was still the fact that this very nice person, their Home Care Aide, was “intruding” on their lives and privacy.
That takes some adjusting to for anyone. For my folks – and a lot of our clients – the adjustment needed to be gradual. It took us a bit of time to really “get” it, but we did. It is now always built into our assessments with seniors and their families, as the critical fourth leg in getting the balance of home care right.
Best wishes, Bert