When dad was discharged from the hospital, there was a mountain of paperwork to fill out. I felt like I was buying a house there were so many papers to be signed. Was I opposed to this discharge? Did we have the financial resources for him to live in a nursing home? I had to fill out forms listing all of dad’s financial resources and insurance so the nursing home could decide if he could be admitted there. I didn’t mind the financial disclosure, but I balked at the form that would have me sign over dad’s house to the nursing home. I will get back to that later, but the gist of it was that the nursing home would take possession of the house and sell it and then give us back whatever was left after they took what was owed them plus what it cost them to sell the house and all the paperwork involved, etc.
I said I had to have my lawyer review that. The nursing home would cost almost $11,000 per month so it would be over a hundred thousand dollars to be there a year. Still dad could afford a year, and I hoped he would be out far sooner. I didn’t see this as his final placement. And the house is worth half a million – far more than he would end up owing them considering he was in his mid-90’s by then and not healthy. Fortunately, it was not required that I sign the paper for him to get in because he ha other resources.
Dad stayed at the nursing home almost a month. He had his follow-up diagnostic procedure after he was discharged from the hospital and over a week later was ready to be discharged from the nursing home back to his assisted living facility. This was a huge relief for me. For one thing, Medicare had refused to pay for his stay at the nursing home because he did not require 7 hours of skilled nursing care per week. He only required one. So mainly he was getting custodial care at 3 times the cost of assisted living! He did have doctors and nurses on call, but he didn’t need them. The other residents were obviously in need of more care than dad was. They needed help ambulating, help eating, and nursing care probably was well. It was clear that dad was in the wrong place. But, he had to be back at baseline before his Assisted Living Facility (ALF) would take him back. I was frustrated that there was no “right” place for him – just too much care or not enough resources!
The day he was discharged from the nursing home was another busy one as again there were many forms to fill out, and transportation to be arranged, etc. Still, it was wonderful to have him back “home” where the aides all knew him. He got right back into the routine and made an amazing “recovery” in that he was back to getting around by himself, eating in the dining room, etc. While in the nursing home he had become lazy and dependent. They even brought his meals to the room most of the time though sometimes they encouraged him to go to the dining area. He stayed in bed all day some days and they brought his meals to his bedside. At the ALF he has to ambulate to the dining room and he does. He looks and feels happier and more independent. He has continued to improve since his return to the ALF. He has expressed concern over his confusion at times, but overall he is doing well there.
Yet, I worry about the financial and physical impact this is having on him. His confusion is worse since he moved 3 times in 2 months – to the hospital – to the nursing home and then back to his ALF. He continues to lose weight, a problem that started 9 months ago. And, suppose next time the illness is more serious? Suppose he HAS to stay at a nursing home next time? Can I find one more suited to his needs? How? At some point, finances will become a larger part of the problem. How long will his money hold out?
These decisions always seem to be made in a hurry and while I am with him in the hospital I am not available to be out looking at residential choices, etc. It is a lot for one person to carry. As I mentioned before, I have siblings, but they have made no efforts to help with mom or dad’s care, and this makes me feel a heavy burden. I blog now to help relieve the stress. And I hope some readers will have suggestions as well. For instance, do you know what type of living arrangement would be more flexible on health issues (24 hour nursing or on call) and yet not be so large and expensive as a nursing home? I like his ALF but medical issues could cause him to be ineligible to remain there at some point.