Monday, October 6, 2008

Whose business is it anyhow?

Someone asked me today about what to do about an elderly friend who lives alone but clearly should not. And that is a tough question. If it were a family member who asked I would determine what the financial situation is and then make appropriate referrals; if the friend has no assets and a low enough income there are a number of long-term care diversion programs that are government funded that will assess the situation and bring a reasonable amount of resources into the home if that would enable the person to remain independent. Those programs operate on the principle that it is more cost effective to bring the resources to the person rather than to place them in a long-term care facility. Or the assessment may show that the person is not capable of living alone even with some assistance and then a referral to a facility would be the better option. If the elder has adequate assets, income and/or good supplemental or long-term care insurance then I would suggest that the family and their elder investigate the many home care agencies available and get all the help that their plans will cover and their assets will allow. Many elders have been diligent about saving for a rainy day and now is the time to start spending that down.

That is all well and good for families but in this case someone who is truly concerned about a friend's well being and obvious needs is hesitant to get into that person's business even though it appears that the person obviously needs help in a big way and there are family members who would be involved in those decisions. I think that the only thing one can do in this situation is to voice your concerns to the elder and to someone in the family and offer to assist them in navigating the maze of agencies and programs that are out there. If that doesn't work contact your local Area Agency on Aging for advice. Here in NE Florida that would be ElderSource or call toll free 1-888-242-4464.

No comments: