Monday, October 30, 2006

Hire your own kid?

…Writing in the WSJ (Oct 23, 2006), Lucette Lagnado says in Vermont they have a program where the elderly can be taken care of by their offspring—and the state pays the kids a stipend to do it.

…Vermont claims it’s never building another nursing home.

…The elderly would rather be at home, but federal law has not paid out for home care the way it does for institutional care via Medicaid.

…In Vermont, it costs $122 a day in a center, $80 to stay home.

…Now the feds have approved payment for home care in Vermont.

…The article points out that Medicaid allows patients’ Social Security or pensions to be used for their care—but this keeps them in the place, because they don’t have the money to get another residence if they get out.

…One extrremely depressed guy in Vermont got out and the state paid his ex-wife to care for him.

…They say the arrangement works better than their marriage did. The ex makes about $10 an hour caring for her former husband.

…He was able to get a puppy.

…Relatives living with the older person only get a set number of hours paid, not the whole 24.

…The system is not appropriate for those who need around-the-clock care, of course. People have to live, they need to go to the store, and so on.

…If the family caregiver gets sick him or herself? It may be back to the nursing home.

…Eldercare professionals say this aircraft carrier may be turning. It may no longer be a direct “chute,” as one put it, from hosp to nursing home.

…Maybe a relative can be compensated to give up part of his or her own life and time to take care of the person. Sometimes they quit a job to do this.

…Why shouldn’t they do it for free? After all, look at all Mom or Dad did for them.

…The answer is: Because this service is worth something to all concerned. It’s a win-win-win for older people, caregivers or relatives, and the govt.

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