We’ve all had those “a-ha” moments that completely turned around our lives. Maybe it was an especially keen insight offered by a friend, a realization that hits us in the middle of the night, or a bit of expert advice that forever changed our perspective on something.
In the case of Sheila*, a new rehab client with our Aging Life Care program, that “a-ha” moment came from an LSSND social worker who knew all the ins and outs of Medicaid. This one piece of information helped stop the domino effect of negative issues that were weakening Sheila’s health, well-being and quality of life.
Sheila had started working with Tracy Nelson, an Aging Life Care Social Work Specialist in Fargo. Our Aging Life Care team provides care coordination to elderly or disabled clients to help them navigate the full spectrum of aging or other support services.
While meeting with Sheila, Tracy clearly explained how her Medicare/Medicaid worked, especially in terms of her share of the cost.
Sheila responded that this one conversation with Tracy “probably extended my life by 10 years” by relieving her stress that her share of the bill would never rise above $300/month.
Sheila had been taking paratransit at $1.50/ride to save money, instead of her medi-van, which doesn't accept Medicaid. However, she stopped going to her physical therapy because the paratransit driver can only help people to the main entrance of their residence and she had trouble walking the long hallways to get to the entrance. Her medi-van service was much more accommodating but it was eating most of her disability check.
Without physical therapy, her mobility had declined and she could no longer sleep in her bed because it was too difficult to get out of it. Instead, she slept in her lift chair. With her decline in range of motion, she also could no longer wash her clothes, as she couldn't bend to get laundry out of the machines. Instead, she resorted to washing her clothes in the kitchen sink and drying them over the backs of chairs.
Now that's all changing for Sheila.
After realizing she won’t pay more than $300/month in share of cost (co-pays excluded) she feels she can make a budget, call a medi-van company that bills Medicaid, resume physical therapy and return to her previous level of functioning, which includes getting her own mail, using a washer/dryer and sleeping in her own bed.
Her ultimate goal is to improve so much she’ll be able to walk across the parking lot and drive her own handicap-accessible van. Then she won't even need a medi-van!
Turn to LSSND for advice and guidance on aging-related challenges. We’ll be there.
If you’d like to help clients like Sheila get the support they need, please donate at www.lssnd.org/donate.
*Name changed to protect client's anonymity.