As persons age, relatives and friends often become caregivers. “If it’s something you haven’t done, it’s something you probably will do” temporarily, Margaret Mary Health social services manager Linda Tuttle told about eight listeners Nov. 18 at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA. “It really makes a difference to have someone who loves them and knows them take care of them.”
MMH Home Health Care and private agency workers can go to a senior citizen’s home to check lungs and breathing, help with dressing, breakfast and other tasks. The around $20-per-hour cost might be covered by Medicare. “If you have to have somebody 24/7, that’s even higher than nursing homes,” which charge about $171 daily. “Some people think Medicare pays for that.” Medicare will pay for short-term rehab up to 20 days, then partially for 20-100 days with optional Medicare supplemental paying the rest.
MMH offers three free documents that are very helpful as persons age:
• One can document allergies, doctors and over-the-counter and prescription medications. “This is something you need to keep up to date at all times” for emergency room visits, she advised.
• Two types of advance directives should be completed for caregivers and persons for whom they care. One or two persons can be selected as health care representatives. “It basically says if you’re not able to speak on your own behalf, who do you want to speak to your doctor about your care?” Copies should be given to the hospital and physicians to be added to electronic medical records.
• A living will should be filled out and witnessed by two persons not related to and not providing health care to the person who desires the document. Tuttle pointed out, “Some people say, ‘If I’m at the end of life and I have such a bad heart and I’ve got cancer … I don’t want to be brought back (by medical advancements). Don’t do chest compressions and break my ribs … don’t put a ventilator down my throat and breathe for me … I don’t want that. When the good Lord calls my name, I’m ready to go.’”