Don’t Let This Happen to You !

*This is not an actual client case, and any similarities between the example and an actual client are purely coincidental.

 Here in the Aging and Disability Resource Center, we have been seeing a new trend.  One which puts people in a very serious situation.  Let me explain with a story. 

Several months ago, I received a call informing me of a person who was living at an assisted living facility and had been paying privately for their care at the facility.  After paying these costs for several years, their money was running out.  This is a very common call that we receive and in this situation, we would talk to the person about a program called Family Care. 

 Family Care is a publicly funded program which pays for long term care services provided in the community including, in some cases, care from an assisted living facility.  In order to qualify for Family Care, a person must be financially eligible for Medicaid and also pass a functional eligibility screen which takes into account the person’s current strengths and limitations in their activities of daily living.  

 So, back to our story.  I set up a time to go visit with this person at their home and see if they qualified for Family Care.  The assessment went very well with one problem.  The person did not pass the functional eligibility screen and, therefore, was not eligible for the Family Care Program!  So, the person was running out of their own money and yet they did not qualify for the one program that could pay for an assisted living. 

 Now what?  What happened in this situation is the person had to move from the facility they had called home for two years to an independent apartment with only their monthly Social Security check and a very small pension for financial resources.  Before this individual moved to the assisted living facility, they had over $50,000 in savings in their bank.  That money was used up in two years by the out-of-pocket costs at the facility.       

The question is, could this have been prevented?  The answer is an overwhelming YES!  So, lets rewind this story and examine another possibility.

 Let’s say that when this person was considering moving to a facility, they had contacted the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  At that time , an Aging & Disability Specialist would have explored the reasons they had for considering a move to a facility.  This process is known as “Options Counseling”.  It involves evaluating the person’s strengths, needs, financial assets and other support available.  The Aging & Disability Specialists would inform them of available programs and services which may be suitable for aiding them with their needs for their own unique situation.  Ideally, the Specialist would travel to their home and together they would discuss the available options, and explore their concerns about continuing to live in their own home.  During this visit, enough information would be shared to allow them to make an informed decision about their future living arrangements and if there needed to be a change. 

 It is possible that a comprehensive plan could be developed to allow them to remain in their current home and receive the support and services needed to feel safe and healthy, if these are the reasons for considering a move.

 Often we find that the types of services needed could be purchased in the community at far less expense than the monthly cost of facility living. 

 For example, a plan could include someone to come to their home once a week to do cleaning and laundry.  Home delivered meals may be appropriate or some other arrangements made for preparing meals.  Family may be able to provide grocery shopping once a week to meet their nutritional needs.  A personal emergency response system (Lifeline) could be installed to call for help in case of an emergency.   All of these services could be purchased for approximately $300 per month.  The monthly cost of an assisted living facility averages $2200 to $3800. 

 As you can see, the person could have purchased all the care they needed at 10% of the cost of a facility!  And when or if this same person needed the level of care provided by an assisted living facility in the future, they would have funds available to pay for it.

 Please don’t misunderstand.  For some people, the correct decision is to move to an assisted living facility.  My point is that people need to be aware of all the possible options available to them to meet their care needs.  When those services and supports available in the community no longer provide adequate care, an assisted living facility is a great option and the appropriate next step.  However, a premature move to a facility could place someone in this situation of having expended all their own funds before the level of care needed opens the door to assistance to pay for their care. 

 Don’t let this happen to you!

 If you are wondering about the services available in Crawford, Juneau, Richland or the Sauk County area, please call one of our local offices of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Eagle Country or 800-482-3710 and ask to speak to the Aging and Disability Specialist on duty.   The Specialist will schedule an appointment to sit down with you and anyone else you choose to include in the discussion.  They will lay out a comprehensive list of options that are available.  They can look at the approximate costs of those services, coordinate formal and informal supports and help you plan for how you see yourself and your lifestyle in future years. 


By: Jim Pritzkow
Lead Aging & Disability Specialist
ADRC of Eagle Country—Baraboo Office

Print Friendly, PDF & Email