A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

From the onset, I had a specific idea of the care plan that would be necessary for Katie to be cared for at home.  But, I was skeptical that such a plan would be approved.

Dreams

Even in my wildest dreams, I did not dare to imagine…

The plan was based on two major factors:

  1. The opportunity to use an existing handicapped-accessible living area:
    First of all, Katie has an ideal living situation in her home. A number of years ago, Sam’s mother chose to utilize her finances to add a handicapped-accessible living area onto Sam and Katie’s house. They built a large living area with a handicapped bathroom that extended off of the existing first-floor family room so they could provide the assistance needed.
  2. The ability to get approval for consistent 24/7 care:
    Secondly, Katie requires total care, which Sam would not be able to handle alone. He works part time and needs the freedom to come and go without having to constantly make arrangements. Although Sam and Katie have two sons, only one is local, and both have the responsibility of young children. Katie needs one consistent fulltime caregiver, in addition to Sam, living in the home.

At the October 23rd meeting, Katie was relatively alert and able to participate in a limited way.  Sam informed the provider that all narcotic medication had been discontinued.  The provider assured Sam that they would be able to care for Katie in the home environment.  More importantly, another meeting was scheduled for the following week with all involved parties: Katie and Sam, the Area Agency on Aging care manager, the nursing home social worker, the provider, and the prospective caregiver.

At this meeting, Judene and I were also in attendance to provide support for Katie and Sam. When we first arrived, Katie greeted us with a vivacious, “Hi!” We were delighted.

When the Aging care manager outlined the specifics of the Waiver Program’s, “Services My Way” plan, I was floored. It provided more than I had dreamed of in my wildest imagination, such as:

  • A 24/7 Service Provider
  • Equipment: electric Hoyer lift, customized wheelchair, shower wheelchair / commode chair combo;
  • Environmental modifications: ramps, laminate flooring, wheel-in shower modification; and
  • Transportation: two roundtrip EMS transportation services monthly for medical appointments.

And if this was not enough to make the day, the provider brought the caregiver they had in mind to look after Katie. “Gloria” has experience working in a family unit. She knows how to use a Hoyer lift. She’s described as being a homebody, having spirit, and being reserved yet warm. We were all most-impressed when Gloria reassured Katie with a gentle touch and calmed her with an uplifting hymn.

One more meeting was scheduled to complete the Public Partnership paperwork for final approval of the plan. The paperwork has now been submitted. The target date for Katie to come home is December 15th. And again, we wait…

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