I desperately need your help regarding my husband’s parents who are in their late 80s. My mother-in-law has been very sick for the past 3 years and my father-in-law has been her caretaker. I’ve always heard that the one who becomes the caretaker also becomes one who needs additional medical care. He has never been a sick person, but now he cannot help her. He has lost almost 50+ pounds in the past year and has just been released from the hospital because he was so dehydrated and has lost so much weight so fast. They do not have any long-term care plans. Talking about live-in help or even talking about an assisted living facility is out of the question. They worry that they will outlive their retirement money but also believe they can take care of themselves.
My husband and my worry is that we know they cannot properly take care of themselves and since my father-in-law is still driving, he may have a wreck and kill someone.
Can you help us explore some options that are out there that can help relieve some of this burden?
Sandy in Sugar Land, TX
How Can I Get Help Paying For Long-Term Care at Home?
Don’t feel like you are alone, because many Baby Boomers are experiencing just what you are facing. Elderly parents can be quite trying because they do not want to lose their independence. It is so difficult when you know they need extra help. Many in this age bracket do not have a long-term care policy and are very conservative when it comes to spending extra money.
My husband and I have experienced the problem. We talked with a home health agency who explained how his parents could maximize their Medicare dollars with home healthcare benefits. There is no co-pay or deductible for home healthcare. Original Medicare will pay 100% for any medical services provided by a home healthcare agency.
Those on Original Medicare have patient rights and they have the right to choose which home healthcare agency they want to use. Those who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan must use network providers and may be limited to how much home healthcare one can receive. Be sure which way your husband’s parents are receiving their Medicare benefits.
How To Receive Home Health Care Services From Medicare
1 – There must be a medical need to receive home health services.
2 – The doctor must order the home healthcare services.
3 – You must need intermittent skilled nursing care, physical, speech, or occupational therapy.
4 – The home health agency must be certified by Medicare.
5 – You must be homebound. Homebound means that leaving home takes considerable and taxing effort. One can be homebound and still go to the beauty shop or go to church.
What Medicare Will Cover For Home Health Care
Once these conditions are met, Original Medicare will cover the types of care listed below:
1 – Skilled nursing care (which can only be performed by a licensed nurse)
2 – Home health aide that can assist in bathing, dressing, and other personal care that must be part of the health care for the illness or injury
3 – Physical, speech, or occupational therapy can be ordered.
4 – Medical social workers can help with long-term planning and help find resources.
5 – Certain medical supplies such as wound dressing, catheters, colostomies (but, not prescription drugs)
6 – Durable medical equipment such as a wheelchair, walker, crutches, or a hospital bed
Consult with your loved one’s primary care physician or specialist if you believe home health care might be right for them. Most generally, your physician, a social worker, case manager, or a hospital discharge planner can help arrange for Medicare-covered home health care.
Toni Says: Remember, you have PATIENT RIGHTS, and this gives you say in which home health agency you want to use.
Toni KingContributing Writer
Toni King is an author, columnist, and radio and TV personality who specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care planning. While conducting a Medicare workshop in 2009, Toni was approached by a member of the audience who had received incorrect information about his Medicare Part B enrollment from Social Security. After taking a couple of days to help the gentleman straighten out his overwhelming problem, Toni’s new mission had become clear. Following more than 27 years as a top sales leader in the Medicare insurance industry, Toni would become an advocate for Americans receiving Medicare. Since then, Toni has devoted her life and career to putting Medicare into “people terms” with the help of her books, consultations, workshops, and website, ToniSays.com. Read more from Toni King.