Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesdays with Elders - The Golden Ticket

I lied. This week is not Jumping Through Medicaid Hoops, Part 2

Dad was Ma's primary care giver, and he took the brunt of her frustration and mood swings. With her safely in the nursing home, I thought Dad would have some much needed peace in his home. Without her, he seemed to go downhill very quickly. He was actually near the bottom of the hill, but with Ma around was able to mask his difficulties, a very common phenomenon in people with Alzheimer's. Dad couldn't perform basic tasks. He was no longer doing the laundry (a job he did for years!) and though  his cooking skills weren't even close to Ma's, he had always managed to cook himself things he liked to eat. I was worried about him using the stove especially after I found candle wax all over the cook top, in pans, measuring cups, coffee mugs. And we're not talking candle wax from a birthday candle, but gobs of wax as if he melted one of the four foot Easter candles used in the Catholic church. So we bought a new microwave as the one there was on the fritz. We also bought Dad our own version of meals on wheels, Marie Calendar's frozen dinners. Himself would stop every evening on the way home from work, to nuke Dad a dinner and to sit with Dad while he ate. If Himself didn't, Dad wouldn't use the microwave (it frightened him) and he wouldn't eat. I would buy bags of salad and grape tomatoes and portion salad for him in sandwich bags. I made individual sandwiches, too.I also bought the giant bags of generic cereal Dad liked. The kind that had 60 servings. We also bought him his favorite cookies. We bought items that didn't require cooking, and he could eat out of hand if he got hungry during the day before Himself arrived. What we found was Dad went through all the food in a couple of days. If he napped during the day, he woke up thinking it was a new day. Or he'd forget he had eaten and would eat again and repeat the cycle. He was like a puppy and didn't know when to stop eating.

His buddy from the police department would see Dad walking around town at night, give him a lift home, and then call me before he got off shift at 7 AM to let me know he was filling out another elder at risk report. I knew I'd get a call from the state Elder and Protective Services social worker. Dad was on their radar. 

Four months to the day that Ma had been in the nursing home, Dad took a 2 mile walk at 2 AM along a busy highway. Fortunately, an angel of a tow truck driver picked Dad up before he became roadkill. The driver noticed how confused Dad was and dropped him at an ambulance service. From there the EMT's took Dad to the local hospital. The local hospital called me at 6 AM to let me know Dad had earned his Golden Ticket. He was being sent to a geriatric hospital for a 10 day evaluation and then a trip to the nursing home.

I was relieved I had Dad's Power of Attorney, worded with language that stated if invoked, I had the authority to admit him to a nursing home and a Healthcare Proxy. I also felt guilty that I had to use them.

When I admitted Ma to the nursing home, I asked if they would be able to take Dad, too, when his time came. I didn't expect it to come around so soon, but at least he would be with Ma and at a nice facility.  Then began the next round of the Medicaid paper chase.

Next week: Jumping Through Medicaid Hoops. (I promise)


  1. It's a difficult situation on both sides. But you made the decision that was best for them. {{{hugs}}}

  2. I feel for you. Alz is a heartbreaking disease. My grandfather and mom both had it.

  3. This sounds like a nightmare time for you and your family...good to know that your Dad too is being looked after. Look forward to hearing the updated situation though, I know how you battled with the officialdom!!