Friday, December 4, 2015

Financial Abuse, Medicare, Facilities and Individuals

Did you know Medicare does not cover long-term nursing care?

Medicare does not provide coverage for people who need to go into nursing homes indefinitely because they are disabled or can no longer take care of themselves.

Medicare does not cover daily custodial care, such as assistance with eating,bathing and dressing.

Medicare  does not cover assisted living or adult daycare.

For more info, click through to a site you've probably used for general information, Web MD

The clock of life is ticking.

We found out about these non-inclusions with Mom and with my husband.

You have to be destitute, you have to give up everything you have (in Missouri if you're a single person you can only have less than $900 of "assets") and then they take away your Social Security, if you go into LTC, except for a small amount, believe it's now up to $40 per month.

Think that's enough?

What could someone possibly need in a facility, anyway -- isn't everything provided?

Let's talk about that:  

Facilities provide what they have and want to provide. So, if you need a better quality of paper pants, you or your family will most likely have to provide those -- as we did as long as we could for Mom.

That may not include "daily needs" you're used to having: Denture cream? Mouthwash? Soap that isn't harsh to older skin? Clothing? 

Any type of technology including a TV -- forget the ones around the center,the staff controls those and you watch what they want to watch, when they want it on.Pajamas, robe, shoes, socks, underwear? 

Medical care beyond what Medicare pays? 

Point of Interest:  Who chooses what plan and type of plan a resident receives in Long Term Care?

When you're in the "outside world" -- you do. In a facility, they choose.

That's just touching the surface.

So many of our elderly depend on the generosity of visitors and friends and family. 

This sounds like a horrible comparison but I remember visiting some zoos in areas where the animals begged for food from visitors; it was obvious they were underfed and undercared for.

Many humans possess an attribute called DIGNITY.

Some won't ask, some won't infer, some will just silently make do, as they learned from lives through the struggles of economic hard times. While our generation of those who lived through "The Great Depression" is lessening, we have many who've gone through hardships and losses through economic declines and losses.

Think of this generation who's gone through Bank and Financial Institution failures, Foreclosures and losses of homes -- what will they be like when they're in Long Term Care -- probably similar to those I see and saw when Mom was there.

I believe what we're seeing ,experiencing and feeling today isn't just complicated by the "Baby Boomer" generation but by generations faced with financial hardships, major setbacks and low wages not enabling establishing "safety nets" like LTC Insurance and IRA's.

People whose only real source of future possible income in homes they occupied and were paying for who were hit and are still being hit by FORECLOSURE will be the first and second waves that will test the strength of our economy and our social development.

And facilities often practice "revenue generation" through their residents by "taking them" for services they really don't want or even need. My Mom was constantly "beseiged" by not one, but two, workers who would try to "escort her" to the Beauty Salon to have her hair done, her nails done -- all in the name of getting that extra money, that small amount, directly into the facility's bankroll instead of "sitting" in an account for the resident.

We took Mom to get her hair permed and cut. She didn't need this "service" but the facility saw an opportunity and tried to convince her. While Mom still had some ability to discern, some cognition and capability, she'd tell them to go away but that didn't stop the next "wave" of facility employees from trying at another time, in another place, to convince Mom she "really needed something done" in between or it would "make her feel so much better to have "X" done".

Our Long Term Care Facility Residents and even those in facilities that are Independent Living and Assisted Living are truly at the mercy of those who work there and those who make the rules.

Be ever watchful. Examine your loved one's account and see what uses were made from the small amount they were "allocated". 

Get that Power of Attorney now and ensure that revocation can only be made through visiting an impartial Elder Care Law Attorney or other Attorney. Ensure your loved one and your family isn't preyed upon as we were.

Best suggestion I have, take over your loved one's total care including managing the "little money" they have by providing it directly to them or using it for those "special things" that make their day a little brighter.

I'm not naiive, I know there's financial abuse and some will not receive any money if this is done. My advice is for the caring, the concerned and the loving families. 

For those who aren't, we need better supervision and accounting in facilities and ensuring residents are truly getting what they want, when they want it and that means more Ombudsman, at least one per facility, checking in, checking up and keeping records to ensure Elder Financial Abuse isn't practiced by facilities.

Times change. People seldom do. If you're in those "Golden Years", the ones that come before darkness falls and you become dependent, look, listen and act to ensure your life isn't manipulated or controlled by someone you expect or would never expect to play a major role in your care giving.

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