How can I get paid to be a caregiver in Chattonaooga, Tennessee?

Tlady3 asked...

I live in Chattanooga TN, and I would like to know if I can get paid for the care of my disabled boyfriend. We have been together for 5 years and he recently(Dec.2010) had a double amputation to his left leg. I work outside of the home leaving him at home alone during the hours of 3:30pm until 1:00am including weekends. I found out that he was falling throughout the evenings, experiencing small strokes, which required for him to undergo yet another major surgery. I am unable to continue to perform my job because I am in constant worry about him. Where do I go? Who can I contact?

Expert Answer

You're obviously in a very tough situation, but the State of Tennessee has several programs that might be able to help. First, the State of Tennessee participates in the National Family Caregiver Support Program. This program can provide home delivered meals, medical equipment and supplies, minor home modifications to assist your boyfriend, and a personal response system for emergencies. The program can also provide you and your boyfriend with individual counseling about access to all other state services. To find out more about this program, and to begin the process of enrolling, you can phone your local Area Agency on Aging and Disability's Information and Assistance Line toll free at 1-866-836-6678. You can also check online for other resources provided by the State of Tennessee's support services.

If your boyfriend has few assets (other than the home you live in) and very low income, he might also qualify for Medicaid in Tennessee, which includes what's called a Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver Program. The HCBS program provides a wide assortment of services to help people remain in their homes instead of entering a nursing home. This can include paid in-home caregiving, and sometimes allows the person receiving care to choose what caregiver is to be paid. To learn more about Tennessee's HCBS program, contact TennCare, which is the name of Tennessee's state Medicaid program.