Welcome to Ask Gail–a place to share questions and answers about what matters to us most: family, friends, community, health, peace, books, favorite resources, what feeds our soul… Ask Gail is also where we can create and share very important information like my “Gail’s Guide to Going to the Hospital.” Stay tuned for more…
Here's the book I wanted to write…
Veteran journalist Howard Gleckman has written the definitive book about the crisis of finding, providing, and paying for long-term care services. He takes us from “the phone call” to the personal stories of people struggling to care for their loved ones to a clear understanding of the problems and their possible solutions. I am taking the book to Omega this weekend to read, along with some books by Pema Chodron—more about her later.
1. You are not alone. Today, 40 million Americans are caring for an elderly parent or disabled relative. As our parents age, more than two out of every three of them will need some personal assistance.
2. Long-term care is not medical care. It is the personal assistance the disabled and frail elderly need to improve the quality of their lives. It may be help eating, bathing, or going to the bathroom. It may be a ride to the doctor or the grocery store, or help balancing a checkbook or cooking dinner.
3. Most of us get this care at home or in the home of an adult child or relative, not in a nursing home. In fact, nearly 80 percent of the frail elderly and the disabled live at home. Fewer than 15 percent live in nursing homes.
4. While most of our parents prefer to stay at home, it is not always the best place for them. Living at home can be lonely and often dangerous. For those who are very ill, it may also be just as expensive as a nursing home. But if your mom or dad needs lots of help, look for other options besides nursing facilities.
5. Medicare will not pay for long-term care. Neither will Medicare Supplement insurance (Medigap). These programs will pay only for limited nursing home or home health care, and only after a patient is discharged from the hospital.
6. Medicaid, the joint federal/state medical program for the poor, pays for half of all long-term care costs in America. But in order to be eligible, your mom or dad must exhaust their financial assets, have very limited income, and be extremely frail or have severe memory loss.