Day Three

We finally met with the grandkids (which in reality are people older than me) yesterday, and I think we can work together for the best interest of my aunt and uncle. What that is at this point, I do not know.

We spoke to the social worker at the convalescent home yesterday who informed us that all home health care (with the exception of maybe Medical in certain situations) is generally paid out of pocket. This means that the charge for a secure, bonded individual is going to be $150 a day. This equals more than $4000 a month and of course exceeds their monthly income, which consists of a pension and their social security.

On the other hand if they stayed there in the facility, they’d be charged $170 per day per person, which comes out to over $10K a month. Since they’re technically in what is known as skilled care rehab (as in they’re probably going to be discharged in the next 20 days max), their particular insurance (which is a Blue Shield HMO/Medicare) would cease to cover the charges at that time and that $170 will be out of pocket if they have to stay there.

Medicare only pays for up to 100 days of custodial care if you have standard Medicare, but with the private insurance that means it’ll be out of pocket. If they had Medical (state provided health care for California), then Medical would pay for it all – so they have to apply for these benefits. In order to do that, we need to find their bank information/income information (which we haven’t yet been able to do – AND if we did we have no legal right to that information since my uncle and aunt are not cognizant enough to grant us power of attorney at this point). Since they do not own their home, all we need to do is provide proof they don’t have more than $2000 per person – which I’m sure that they do… but I know darn well it’s probably not enough to pay for even one month in custodial care.

That $170 isn’t including any supplies, just the facility fee. So that will rack up the cost every day.

So the next option we have to explore is that my aunt and uncle come to live with some of the family. My mother is out of the question – she has no way to provide their physical care, which is very likely going to be a necessity. We don’t know if they’ll need help with diapers or catheters, walking, moving, feeding -etc. That’s why we have to talk to the doctor before we can even know how to proceed.

My mom could do their shopping, pay their bills and make sure they’re okay in a very general sense, but there’s no way she can handle their physical needs.

The granddaughters could likely take care of their physical needs, but each have a family and responsibilities already – which is kind of the position I’m in. There’s no way I could move them into my house and I’m certainly not trained to take care of these needs like a medical professional.

One of the granddaughters suggested we find an assisted living center where the two of them can live together, which would be ideal if it doesn’t charge them out the wazoo. But where? My uncle and my aunt think that they’re going to be coming home every single time we see it. Yesterday they were trying to figure out how to get out of the chair (they’re strapped in for their safety) so they can get up and walk out with us.

It’s heart breaking. Every day they’re so happy to see us but so distraught they cannot come. And every day we have to deliver this news as if it’s the first time. There’s no understanding we’ll be back later and that they have to stay there for the time being. They want to go home.

And I am at a complete loss what to do. Do we pay another month’s rent if they’re not coming home? Realistically probably yes so we can deal with their belongings.

If we pay for their final expenses out of their savings no doubt that will make them eligible for state care, but we don’t even know if they’ve paid for these things already. We couldn’t even get them to answer who had been paying their bills for them.

It’s like waltzing with a porcupine. Plus how do you ask someone that confused about funeral arrangements?

My mother in law says there’s no other way than just be direct. She suggested finding someone who works with hospice patients because they are specially trained to deal with these types of questions.

I just don’t think that they’re on death’s door because physically they are getting stronger every day. It’s their mental capacity that makes them unable to care for themselves.

And it’s sad (and scary) that it’s happening to both people at the same time. Makes me think that when one goes the other will not be far behind.

I had planned to go over there and help clean the house (which needs to be done if one of the grandkids is going to stay there this next week), just by doing the bathroom – a moral imperative for me at this point – and letting my son do the kitchen. My back is staging quite the protest of everything I’ve done to it in the last week. Taking care of my mother (who is disabled) and taking care of my aunt and uncle have actually kind of stressed my back even more when it really didn’t need it.

But there’s no one else to do it. There’s the granddaughter but I don’t feel right putting it all on her. So push on I must. Although I think I’ll be sitting out any extensive cleaning today just to recuperate. In fact, I think I might just take a break from it all entirely like I had originally wanted to do.

It’s very hard on the spirit under this constant worry, uncertainty and sadness.

So maybe this will be my day off to regenerate. I think I need it.


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