Thursday, April 30, 2015

Looking for "Treasure" on Your Aging Parent's Dementia Journey

I've worked with aging parents and their families since 1994.  The most important lessons I've learned didn't come from books or seminars.  They came from adult children who faced the difficulties of their parents' journey, even when it involved dementia.

Keith, a friend from church, has a dad with Frontotemporal Dementia.  Here's what Keith said about his dad.

"When people ask how Dad is doing, I have to honestly say that dementia is awful.  There's no doubting that.  I'm learning, though, to look for the small blessings along the way."

Keith mentioned a few:

"I read from the Psalms to dad.  His eyes lit up, and a big smile crossed his face."

"Two friends from his past stopped by.  He recognized them and was glad to see them."

"We found the lenses to his glasses.  No small miracle.  Now he can see!"

"I discovered the nursing home has a barber/beauty shop.  We made an appointment for a much-needed haircut."

Looking for the bright spots along the way isn't easy.  When you find them, though, they're like pure gold.

Can you think of any small blessings you and/or aging parent have experienced recently?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Looking for Free Help on Medicaid? Columbia Legal Services Has It Covered

I live in Washington State.  So do my clients.  When they're understandably stumped about Medicaid for their aging parent, I turn them over to the best free sources around:  publications by Columbia Legal Services.

Contracting with the Department of Social and Health Services, Columbia Legal Services produces documents that are pretty much stripped of jargon.  They're straightforward and easy to understand. Two of them stand out as extremely helpful, asking questions like:  "How much money can my parent keep and still qualify for Medicaid?"  "What kinds of things can be purchased as she is spending assets to qualify?"  and "What is the income limit for Medicaid eligibility?"

The two documents are:  Questions and Answers on Medicaid for Nursing Home Residents and Questions and Answers on the COPES Program.

They answer the same basic questions of how to qualify physically and financially, how the person "participates" in paying for his or her care, what miscellaneous services Medicaid covers, etc.

Today the COPES program is used most often. It's an alternative to nursing home care.  The care under COPES can be provided at home, in an assisted living community or in an adult family home.

So if you might be looking at Medicaid for your aging parent, either now or in the future, I encourage you to start with the COPES publication by Columbia Legal Services.

Have any of you looked at these publications?  Have they been helpful?

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