What options does my aunt with limited resources have reguarding her care?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 02, 2016
Anjord asked...

I am a 74 yr old caregiver who has DPOA for an almost 90 yr aunt. She is now in the hospital (critical coronary care unit),where she was given a pacemaker. She had some medical problems(high blood pressure, low thyroid, osteoporosis, etc. which were being treated.She has generally deteriorated recently physically. She has lived alone in an apartment. She gets a very small pension, but has had some problems with credit card abuse and I am working with what she has to reduce her bills. She never married with children and I am her closest relative. She has one 88 yr old sister living in another state. I cannot take care of her. I live about 25 miles from her. I also have a sick husband at home. I take care of most of her affairs. She will be discharged soon.I have talked to the social workers at the hospital to try to let them know of her living situation to hopeful. She does not have Medicare-Part A, just B, with an other insurance for Hospital Part A coverage. I do not know what is available for someone like her with such limited resources who would need nursing care since she cannot do for herself. She lives alone in her apartment. She is going to need something on a long term basis. Any help for her. anjord

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

Planning for care for someone with limited resources is challenging. First, good for you for being aware that you cannot manage her care. Admitting that allows you to plan effectively to find another way.

Much depends on the state she lives in. There is a program called Community Based Alternatives (CBA)that is intended to assist older adults to remain independent in the community and out of nursing homes. You need to contact the social worker in the hospital or contact your local Area Agency on Aging for information about this program. CBA usually pays for some portion of an assisted living community.

Other options include HUD housing. Generally these communities do not offer much assistance but they are low cost. If she can manage her Activities of Daily Living (ADL's), then this would be an ideal solution. (ADL's are getting to the grocery store, preparing a meal, getting to the toilet, taking medications, using the telephone, doing laundry, paying bills and managing her finances, and light housekeeping.)

Nursing homes require medical necessity; you have to need medical care. It does not sound like your aunt needs to be in a nursing home. Finding a good placement will be difficult; be sure to find one that can offer some help as she ages and her health declines. If not, you will be doing the search again shortly.

Good luck. Be patient.