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A Tale of 2 Grandpas
3 Apr 2007
A Tale of 2 Grandpas
And Why LTCi is so important...
For Agents Information Only........
We have had real life experience with Long Term Health Care issues. One Being with my grandfather on my dad's side, Howard Concklin and the other with my grandfather on my mom's side, Frank (Pop) Miner.
Both of them were very healthy and active into their later years and both ended up needing various levels of care at home and in the nursing home. Both of them taught us valuable lessons in long term health care costs and the effects on people needing care and their families.
Grandpa Howard's story:
Grandpa Howard was never sick a day in his life. He had been living in Tennessee for about 25 years and enjoying the layed back lifestyle. At age 88 he had a mini-stroke which caused some short-term memory loss. He was given a prescription to take but due to his memory loss he forgot to renew it.
A couple of months later he had another stroke while shaving. He lost his balance, fell over the bathtub and when he tried to get up he couldn't stand on his leg . After EMS took him to the hospital they learned that he broke his femur. He had to have pins and a plate installed so he could regain his ability to walk.
After his second stroke his speech was drastically impaired and after the hospital stay for his leg he was transferred to a nursing home for recovery. He was not happy about being in the nursing home and refused to cooperate with the staff. He refused physical therapy. He was not what you would call a good patient.
After a couple months in the nursing home he had a third stroke which set him back even more. Then came the feeding tube! He pulled it out twice with his one semi-working arm and was put back in the hospital to re-insert the tube. At that point my dad had to hire lawyers in Tennessee and go down there to become his conservator.
After weeks and months of all this, he passed away at age 89.
While he did have Medicare and a Medicare Supplement, he had no coverage for most of the nursing home charges. After spending all of his savings he went on Tenn-Care (Tennessee's version of Medicaid).
He never believed in having insurance and he didn't have much. If he had a good Long Term Care Insurance policy he could have avoided spending all his life's savings on nursing home costs.
Pop Miner's story:
Pop was active, on no medication and had no diagnosis of any illness whatsoever until age 98 when short term memory issues popped up. In fact, he had cataract surgery on his eyes and didn't even need glasses anymore after 60 years of wearing them except to read and drive. It was quite hard to get used to seeing him without those trademark specs once he got rid of them.
He was put on some medication at that point to help slow down the progression of the memory loss but then he started getting dizzy and fell down quote a bit.
At this point he was still pretty self-reliant. He was going up and down stairs by himself with no problem. We decided it would be best to have someone come in on a limited basis to help him with shopping, cooking, cleaning etc. So we found a woman from his church who was a perfect fit. She got him ready for bed and made sure he was all set for the night.
Life-Alert monitoring system was used during this period as he was own his own between 9:00 PM and 8:00 AM. Life-Alert worked great when Pop remembered how to use it and who it was that was speaking to him from the box. There were a couple of pretty funny incidents with them when Pop couldn't figure out who was talking to him after he inadvertently sat on the clicker and it called them for help.
In August of 2006 Pop fell and broke his arm. This coupled with his dizziness and memory loss sent him to rehab in a skilled-care facility where he stayed for 3 months. Medicare paid the first 20 days in full and all but $130 per day for the rest of the time he was in.
Since his medical plan did not cover the $130/day coinsurance his personal out-of-pocket expenses were about $10,000. Add that to the cost of having his part-time care giver go to the rehab every evening for a couple of hours and the costs really started adding up.
After being released to go home (now Age 100) it was clear he could no longer be on his own. The months in rehab, spending most of his time in a wheel chair or bed weakened him to the point that he needed help just going to the toilet. He made it known that he wanted to be in his own home so we did everything we could to honor his request.
A live-in care giver was hired (which he paid for out of pocket) and she did everything imaginable. The part-time care giver filled in when the full-timer was off plus she did all the shopping since she was the one who drove a car.
Before long he was approved for Hospice and nurses were in and out during the week. Life-Alert was eliminated since there was always someone with him. While Medicare paid for Hospice, nothing covered the cost of his care givers, food etc. Pop paid all those costs out of his savings until he passed away a few weeks after his 101'st birthday.
He got his wish........he passed away at home, in his own bed while holding his daughter's (my mom's) hand.
No mention is made of the toll these situations take on the family but it is usually very difficult and stressful. The stress is made much worse when there is no money or insurance covering these mounting costs. Make sure you and your loved ones and your clients are prepared for this type of situation.
As a side note, Pop taught school in Spring Valley, NY for 38 years and was retired for 38 years. I guess that's like batting 1000!
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