Rose from Broomall, Pa.: I have taken care of both of my parents through their illnesses until their deaths. In that time I have lost almost everything trying to keep them alive. When my Mother passed away I was told that my father and brain injured brother's insurance through the company she worked for would continue to cover them, 2 weeks later the company went under and so did the insurance when I called the Benefits office they told me that my father and brother were still covered. My Dad was in and out of the hospital on a weekly basis. What I was not aware of at the time was that my Mother had canceled the Medicare coverage for my Brother and my Dad . I ended up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital and prescriptions (my dad's prescriptions at the time were running close to $4,000 per month) . I have in the last 4 months pulled my home out of foreclosure, but have to sell the house in order for my daughter to remain in college, I am the luckiest Mom in the world to have a child that I could be so proud of, she has been strong and kept me strong through all of this. My brother who is 51 years old and brain injured does not want to move with me, he is in a program that he has been in for almost 30 years and I will not destroy all that he has accomplished, but, what do I do? I don't have the thousands of dollars I need to have the tests run that he will need in order to find a home for him that he will be happy and safe in. Do you have any recommendations?
This is a bit complicated, and I'm not quite sure why you were paying 'hundreds of thousands of dollars' out of pocket for your brother and father or how both were removed from the Medicare rolls. Before you spend another dime of your own money, you need to sit down with a professional. Contact the state health insurance assistance program and talk with a counselor (you can find this through eldercare.gov or shiptalk.org). An elder law attorney should also be able to guide you (naela.org)
Heather from Monona, Wis.: My injured mother lives with us. Are there low interest loans or grants available to upgrade our house so it can be made handicapped accessible?
There are, but they are few and far between. The Veterans Administration offers some home modification benefits. The IRS allows a deduction for some modifications. Some insurance plans offer coverage for minor modifications. And then there are various programs within states, some of them part of Medicaid. Contact the area agency on aging (www.eldercare.gov). You should also check out the following websites, which have information about home modifications for the elderly: www.homemods.org, www.rebuildingtogether.org, www.nahb.com.
Norlizsa from Lithonia, Georgia: What programs and services are available for caregivers and their aging parents from the federal, state, and county governments? Are there non-profit agencies who provide grants for senior services?