A spousal caregiver recently told me he looks at his watch all day for the time he will experience the joy of seeing his wife and when his eyes meet hers his joy turns to pain as she can’t remember who he is.
When: Thursday, February 9, 2012 | 3:30pm to 5:00pm
Where: Mercy Retirement and Care Center | 3431 Foothill Blvd | Oakland
What: Jean Tokarek, MPA, CMC, will host a workshop on letting go of guilt after placing a loved one. Get tips and advice on self-care and much more.
More Info: (510) 534-8540 or email@example.com
It is true that couples don’t have to spend every last dollar in order to have the cost of skilled nursing covered by governmental benefits. Remember, Medicare does not cover the cost of custodial care in a skilled nursing facility. Medicare only covers short periods of time for rehab after surgery, an accident or other covered pre-admission conditions.
In many states, there are benefits that allow spouses to quality for governmental support of long term care costs in a skilled nursing facility. There are many exempt assets and in California, the well spouse, can keep up to $109,560 (2009) and still qualify to have his or her spouse in a Medi-Cal covered skilled nursing facility.
The spouse receiving these benefits, may need to cover some of the costs with his or her retirement benefits. This will differ from couple to couple and allowances are made if the spouse who stays at home needs more income for their health and wellness.
It can be confusing to understand what is accepted and what counts towards the total allowed for the well spouse. Consulting with a Certified Geriatric Care Manager for an hour or two is all you will need. If you have to move assets in order to qualify, we recommend that you consult an Elder Law Attorney who is a member of The National Association of Elder Law Attorney’s (NAELA.org).
Learn all you can about your benefits. Sit down with someone skilled in helping you make long term decisions, such as a Professional Geriatric Care Manager. Knowing about your benefits doesn’t need to be hard.
When one parent is exhibiting signs of memory loss the other parent can often cover up for the spouse who is losing the ability to care for themselves. Adult children are often surprised when they hear about a diagnosis they never saw, sometimes because of denial and at other times because the well parent was doing such a good job of making excuses or covering for the ill parent.
Often this is because of the well parent’s denial and fear of facing the truth of the pending loss. Other times both parents might be experiencing a dementia and they need each other to maintain their independence. It is fascinating for me as a professional, to see how we humans struggle to stay independent for fear of losing control. Are we not really all interdependent? Don’t we depend on others to produce our food, manufacture our clothing, build structures, secure our financial resources etc? Would it not be a better world if we were all much more comfortable with the phrase “inter-dependence” instead of struggling to hold onto “independence” even to our own detriment?
Often adult children have a difficult time seeing the dementia for some of the same fears around loss and grief. It is not easy to experience the loss of a parent in a way that robs them of self and leaves an empty shell of what was a beloved, intelligent being. Rest assured that love can be experienced and expressed into the later stages of dementia and we can all learn the importance of just being in the moment – because truly that is all there really is.