Getting Started

Welcome to my site. I have been a caregiver since I was 16 years old and learned how to drive. It wasn’t until recently I discovered I could get paid to be a caregiver by taking classes to be a home health aide and work for a third party agency. First I had to spend my mother’s assets down which Medicaid calls the spend down program. Once moms assets had been spent on her and the house she lives in I was then able to sign her up to be on the state medicaid program. Once my mother was approved for the Ohio medicaid program I was able to sign her up with the Passport program. This program allows for seniors who live in their communities to be able to stay in their own home without being put in a assistant living facilities or nursing home.

Once she was on the program we were able to start receiving some amazing benefits for seniors. I only wish that I would of known about this kind of stuff when I was younger and taking care of my grandmother. I have had to do a ton of research over the years looking into all the ways I can get help with both my grandmother and mother. It has been a great learning experience.

Now I feel its time for me to start teaching others about all these resources I have found to help me with becoming a family caregiver. As well as providing a support group for people going through caring for their loved one just like me. I hope as I start this blog everyone will be patient with me. I will link all the information I was able to find for Ohio and then I will look into helping others find information based on each state in the USA.

Thank you for being here.

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Home Health Care

What is home health care? There are agencies that provide home health care to help seniors or the disable remain safely in their home. There is a range of services that help people with daily living that include cooking, personal hygiene, medical, companionship, transportation, rehabilitation and support to help aid in the healing process after an illness, surgery or injury.  An agency will offer a range of these services by having a medical social worker visit you in your home to determine which services you need and will help you arrange them.

How to select a home health care agency is very personal decision. I went with the agency that was provided to me by Western Reserve Counseling on Aging Passport program. It is important to choose one based upon your needs. You can find Nursing agencies in the Yellow Pages under Home Health Care or Nurses. You can check with your local senior centers as well. If you been hospitalized check with the social service workers, physicians, hospital discharge planners, and your public health departments. You may want to contact United Way agencies, religious and senior citizens groups can help advise you to selecting an agency too.

There are a range of services that may provide free assessments like Passport program or PACE program. They can show you the most cost-effective plan of care for you. Such as the cost per visit or hourly rates can vary by agency, skill level, acuity of care, length and timing of service. They also have respite care for caregiver and adult day care agencies.

I advise asking a lot of questions to helping you choose which agency to go with. This will help give you a better understanding of the services they offer and what your needs are. Some questions you might want to ask are the following:

  • Does the agency have 24/7 service in case of an emergency?
  • Is the agency accredited and does it have a Medicare license and/or Medicaid certified?
  • Do they send the same person and are they dependable and reliable? 
  • Will the agency teach a family caregiver the health care skills that he/she needs to care for our loved one?
  • Are there regular physical and TB screenings required by all their workers and do they have CPR certification?
  • How often will I be billed and who will pay? Will the agency file with Medicare, Medicaid, HMO and private insurance claims? Is there a third-party reimbursement?
  • Will the agency representative consult with my physician and family members to develop a written care plan outlining the specific duties that the caregivers are to perform. How often will they do them and will the agency know my needs?

These were just a few examples of what you might want to know.

 

How I became a Caregiver

Back in 1999 my mother had a rear type of stroke that took both her memory and vision out of one eye. I wasn’t living at home at the time and was working and going to school and taking care of my grandmother who had dementia. Grandma and I had lived in the same apartment building. Her dementia was only beginning. Grandma kept falling and was in and out of hospital. She wasn’t eating for me.
I had my hands full with taking care of both mom and grandma. I was only in my early thirties when this happened. As you can imagine I was defiantly not ready for all this. Grandma started falling and I had to put her in a  rehabilitation center for three months. I called my uncle in Florida and told him he needed to move back to help me. I was running between the two apartments and my mothers home before moving back home to take care of my mother. Mom couldn’t remember how to cook, read, write, all the basic things we took for granted. I had to label the cupboards so she would know where things were. I had to show her how to make frozen dinners in the microwave; so when I was working she could make herself some dinner. Thankfully, she remembered us kids but forgot that she smoked cigarette’s which was good thing. I don’t miss that smell in the house. LOL. Not even a year latter she had breast cancer. Mom had to undergo surgery twice and then radiation treatments for 8 weeks. Between the surgery and treatments moms incision became badly infected. The doctor showed me how to treat the wound and infection as the dressing needed to be changed 3 times a day. My uncle came back to take care of grandma and I was helping him as much as I could while taking mom for treatments, then school and work. Once mom was done with treatments my uncle also found out he had cancer and only had few months to live. He put me in charge of his financial stuff and my grandmothers. And so the stress just got worse.
When he passed I had to move grandma back in with mom and me. The two of them fought like crazy. I would come home and grandma would complain how mean mom was being to her. Did I say my mom was her daughter. Grandma wanted to move and I had told her she would have to go into assistant living since she needed some care. Finally we found an nice assistant living place for grandma. Assistant living is not cheap. I was told medicare and medicaid did not cover it. They took my grandmothers social security checks and we had to pay the rest. We went through the money grandma had in her savings within one year. You work all your life and then in one year your life savings is just gone. It is so sad the way this country treats our elderly people. Again grandma moved back in with mom and me. After a few months I had to put grandma into a nursing home as she started falling again and was starting to lose bodily functions. The dementia was getting worse. Moms memory was getting a little better. Mom was learning to read and write. However, her short term memory was lost forever. I found out with nursing homes medicaid would pay for the care that I could no longer give to my grandmother. The nursing home applied for the medicaid for her and I slowly start doing more and more research on what benefits where out there for people who where over the age of 65.
Once your 65 years old you can apply for the homestead act which helps lower your property taxes, water and sewer. I also found that the other utility company’s also have programs for low income families. Its called the pipp program. I was able to apply for all these things for my mom. She couldn’t remember a lot of stuff due to her stroke and she didn’t see well because of the vision loss in her one eye. I was officially in charge of all my mothers care. And this is how it all began…