Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Future

So, we've put it off long enough... it's now time to take action on Dad's financial situation and his future. I'm going to be honest and really break it down. It's a tough situation.

Dad's monthly income from Teamsters and Social Security is $1800 SHORT for what he owes Whittier Place each month. We've been supplementing that difference with his savings which is dwindling fast. It comes down to this: He can only afford to stay at Whittier Place through December. And we should probably move him faster than that so that he still has some savings left.

We possibly could have chosen a cheaper place back in April 2010. But we had to take into consideration location, amenities, and the fact that we were desperate. And, Whittier Place is cheaper than most for the quality. But what would you do? Stick him in a home where there is no outside area, the hallways are dark and dingy, and every resident is 90 years old and on their death bed? Because we saw plenty of those and it was depressing to say the least. Let's remember that Dad is only 71 years old.

So, we can't look back at the decisions we made, only the future. All I can say is we gave him a year and half of an amazing home filled with laughter, love, and friendly people who genuinely care for him. And it's going to break our hearts the day he moves out. Literally.

So, what are his options?

-Move him to a Board & Care which will be lower in cost but still probably not low enough. It's a house with a couple full-time care givers and maybe 5 other residents. We originally tried to move him to one in April 2010 but he ran away in the rain and we found him on the streets of Huntington Beach. They are usually not equipped for Alzheimer's patients. He would walk right out the front door or climb out the window.

-Move him to an extremely cheap and disgusting Dementia Ward where he'll never see the light of day because the less expensive ones don't have a garden or are on the 2nd floor of a building and the residents never go outside. The thought of him not being able to go outside and being locked indoors like a caged animal made me cry.
I don't know if we could even find one cheap enough. Also, many of the cheaper facilities are really far away from Me and Megan. Whittier Place is already so far away.

-Appeal to MediCal for the Assisted Living Waiver which is really just for people who are in Skilled Nursing who need to move to Assisted Living. But he does fall under the category of needing 24 hour care like Skilled Nursing, and technically he lives in an Assisted Living facility with a dementia ward. It's a long shot and probably won't work.

The only hope we have is that the Veterans Association is opening up a huge Alzheimer's facility in Los Angeles and we were smart enough to put him on the wait list a while back. The home is supposed to open in February 2012 (but you never know if that will be pushed back). Dad will get an application and it's supposed to be first come first serve. It's a lot of 'if's' to put our hope on.

Okay, let's just say that it all works out and he can move into that brand new facility in February. I'm sure you've done the math. Where is he going to go for the month of January or possibly part of February? Do we move him soon to a cheaper place and then move him again in February? 2 moves? Talk about trauma to both him and us! Or do we fund-raise to keep him in Whittier Place through January? Or maybe they'll strike us a deal for just one month. And what if he doesn't get accepted into that new facility or the date of the opening gets pushed back?

This is what we're dealing with right now. My Mom has been making a lot of phone calls to help us out and we're laying all the options out on the table. One resource we called said nicely, "His income is actually quite high, I get people who only have $500 income/month. And they don't know what to do either."

All I can say is I'm fired up to fund-raise for the Walk this year. An angry fired up. These are tough, desperate situations and it's only going to be more of a drain on the government when the Baby Boomers are added to the mix. We need resources and awareness and help! Oh, and a cure would be nice too.