His First Year


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October:  Hospice, or placement?

After all you have been through, after all your care-giving, it has come to this: you need help. Not just a weekly break, not just someone coming in to help clean a bit, or check in on your loved one. No, you need some serious help. Because the Alzheimer's has progressed far enough that it is clear that the end is in sight – meaning more intense care needs, increased physical problems, actual medical attention required.

What are your choices? What are your options?

It isn't a simple matter of “do this,” or “do that.” Insurance coverage varies widely from place to place and plan to plan. Government programs at the local, state, and federal levels all have their own arcane rules. Visiting Nurses associations may be in your area, and able to help. Or not. Hospice programs may exist and be able to provide care. Or not.

It's a mess, frankly. And you're probably now so exhausted from the years of being a care-provider that you can't make sense of it. At all. Chances are you'll grab at whatever straw is first offered. Will it be the right choice?

There *is* no right choice. There is no wrong choice. Come to terms with that now, or you will beat yourself up for no reason. You can only do the best you are capable, at the time. It may be hospice, if one is available. It may be placement in a full-time nursing facility. It may be something else entirely. You may have little or no control over your choices, and the decision may be made for you by external factors.

Our nursing home decision was based on our hearing from the day care facility and doctors, both of whom told us hospice wasn't an option and that for Georgia's safety and well-being, she'd be better off at a care facility than at home. We got a runaround about whether Georgia even qualified for hospice and we were convinced that we didn't qualify, meaning that we were short at least one potential source of assistance that we should have had. The vehemence we got at the nursing home regarding hospice was soul-shaking.

And as noted elsewhere, every time we thought we qualified for a form of assistance, we either got wrong or inaccurate information, or could no longer find the documents that we needed. (Many of which may still exist, but we have no idea how much stuff Georgia discarded or destroyed.)


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