advoccy

SURVEY SAYS…….

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“According to a recent survey”….blah, blah, blah. I’m so tired of hearing those words on the news, in commercials and in conversations. Stop eating that, don’t play this, drink more of this instead of that and on and on. I wonder who takes these surveys. Are they educated in the product or service they are giving their opinion on? The fact is survey data is usually biased because it depends on the subject’s motivation, honesty and expertise. Also important is the agenda of the survey designers to sway public opinion for or against a product or service. It’s known that if you can get as little as 10% of a social network to strongly commit to an opinion, that it is enough to rapidly convert the uncommitted 90% to adopt their point of view. This is called the “tipping point” after which the entire social network does the job of converting everyone else toward being a believer.

When the agenda is to “manage” and “control” people through fear or false promises then it becomes dangerous. The pharmaceutical industry, for one example, is guilty of “fear marketing” using survey data to scare potential customers into thinking they must take certain medications. Their data states they can prevent future conditions and better cure others than what they are taking now.

Then there are the food and drink scares. One year they warn not to eat butter, drink coffee or eat spicy foods. The next year butter is good and margarine is bad, caffeine is beneficial and spicy foods are good for circulation. All this based on stats, data and surveys. I would accept this data easier if the facts were listed and by who then I could draw my own conclusions.

Unfortunately the usual agenda is product marketing. It’s good to know what potential harm or options are available. But, when the general public are used as puppets and led like lemmings to the money pit it becomes manipulative. Next time you hear “a recent survey states” ask yourself where they are coming from and what are they trying to sell. If you see a competitor in the shadows who will go down if those 10% sway the 90% then you can make your own conclusions.

Anger As A Tool

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Do you know what the most dangerous emotion is? It is depression. There is no way to use it. Like a car that has run out of fuel you can try to push it forward but you just can’t get anywhere. You can keep trying to crank the engine over but nothing ignites it. Soon you realize it is worthless as it is. What you need is fuel and that fuel for humans is anger.

I’m not talking about the anger that hurts other people as that is completely counterproductive. I’m talking about the anger you can use as a tool to fire up the engine of motivation that can get you down the road and on your way to success. We were not given the amazing range of emotions so they could control us but so we could use them to enhance our lives.

You know you are using anger to your advantage when you see it turn into will power, strength, endurance and determination. These are not passive feelings, they come from being fed up with apathy toward your environment or your own stagnate self. Anger is at the opposite end of the spectrum of victim.

Throughout my life I have experienced many crisis, divorces, betrayals, near death experience, coma, death of a grown child and a grandchild, homelessness and living with several disabilities and much more. But my life is a success because at each crisis I became stronger, smarter and more pro-active. The first divorce shattered me and the dark cloak of depression covered me until I felt I couldn’t breathe. Then one day I became angry at myself for letting a temporary speed bump jar me off my journey. I made plans and goals and got back on the road. I let anger fire my engine to move forward.

I’m certainly not perfect and every once in a while life deals me a new blow like my sweet granddaughter being diagnosed with leukemia at 14 and for a day or so I allow depression to seep in but the stress is never worth it. By now I know what is needed. I get fed up, I get angry at the situation and I reach for my blue steno pad and I make a plan, a PLAN B. I research, learn my options then go forward.

Can you imagine humanity without the emotion of anger? It motivates progress, competition and achievement. It is a tool that once mastered can push you forward to opportunities and goals beyond your expectations.

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Where Did The Rest Stops Go?

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My Dad loved and I mean loved to travel and explore the states especially the lower coast-to-coast ones. Every school vacation off we would go. But don’t misunderstand this wasn’t a typical road trip. We moved. There was our 1953 light green Ford sedan, my dad’s 1949 Chevy pickup that pulled a 30 foot trailer with plywood sides and an army green canvas tarp pulled taught over everything we owned. Toward the end of school break we would settle in a house in one of the states from Florida to California.

My mom, sister, and two brothers and I traveled that route for many summers stopping at each attraction along the way and never missing the welcome rest stops in each state. We would read everything about the state’s history and all the attractions offered. My dad was a house painter so jobs were picked up everywhere along the journey. This was not a rich man’s vacation, not even close. But we survived and even had fun because of the roadside rest stops all along the highway. These were places you would finally get to go to the bathroom, run and play and eat your picnic lunch and ice cold cool-aide held in the big metal Coleman cooler. Dad more often than not took a little nap on the cool concrete picnic table bench covering his face with his hat or a newspaper and wake refreshed and ready to roll. My little brother and I would run, play checkers, jacks or anything else we found to entertain ourselves.

There was no worry that someone would rob you or you would get accosted in the restrooms or there would be drug deals in the parking lots. We were all travelers on a journey to different destinations. It was the place to get free water if your vehicle overheated or a helping hand from another traveler if you were broke down. You made friends for an hour or two knowing you would probably never see them again but you remember them in your stories along with the experiences and the sites that you encountered.

Now the rest stops are quietly disappearing. Budget cuts and people’s preference for fast food in place of picnics are causing these wonderful scenic places to fade away. Nowadays it’s about getting there fast as possible. Destination is the only goal. As the highway system expanded the off-ramps take you off the speeding interstate leading you directly to fast food and huge service stations. For years I did not notice that the road side rest stops were almost gone. Much like the phone booth and big blue neighborhood mailbox they just slid out of sight in the name of progress. But I have memories that weave into stories that come alive as I tell them to my grandchildren of the sights and sounds and smells and feel of the places we experienced that no book can match.

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Saving the Environment to Save Ourselves

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Earth Resting Atop a Leaf --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis There are so many changes communities could do to be more pro-active in protecting their ecosystems. Some communities have started this process slowly. Everyone understands it should be a priority but getting the money to peruse it is always difficult. I began to do some research on what some options are and things a few cities are doing now. In examining large and mid-size urban cities I have located environmental areas that are at risk of becoming damaged beyond repair. These risk areas are biological habitats, clean air and water pollution. A city’s rapid growth and continuing urban sprawl is currently endangering indigenous plants and animals. However I feel with implementation of the recommendations I have found any city will see a substantial improvement on their ecosystem and a lighter footprint on the environment as a whole.

Regarding  air quality – City buses and large construction equipment owned by the Department of Transportation need upgrading to newer engines or equipped with emission control devices such as idle reduction technology. Cross country locomotives going through communities can also be retrofitted to cut down on the mission pollution. This is a big concern since a major train yard often sits right in the middle of a highly populated area. Idling diesel engines not only omit harmful pollutants but waste fuel and cause engines to wear.

Promote transportation choices – Cars as transportation options are slow, dangerous and frustrating especially when you’re in the middle of a big city gridlock. They are also a huge user of oil. Taxpayers cover the load of road maintenance and constructions of new roads. Moving people by bus, train, bicycles or on foot is more efficient and kinder to the environment. These options are under used because communities are not actively diverting funds like the gas tax from road construction to Greenway construction. If it’s inconvenient most people will not use it. Working with your local park board to design and maintain a bicycle pedestrian trails that crisscrosses the city will encourage people to use them. It is also recommended that City Council consider a fund or pursue grants as a way to keep these trails and public transit terminals safe such as well lighted crosswalks and patrols coordinated by local police. City buses can be fitted with bike racks on the front so riders can take their bike in inclement weather. Employers could offer to pay for bus rides to work and create a more flexible schedule coinciding with the bus schedules. In Manila the Philippines, the Asian Bank is providing $300 million toward a ground breaking project that gives its people a lease to own E – trike. This kind of concept would be a great solution on a smaller scale for the various universities in your city. Parking is always an issue and with 1000+ students using cars it would make a huge difference in greenhouse gases.

Establishing green spaces and urban forestry – Urban forestry and green spaces should be developed and maintained wherever possible to promote a diverse and healthy environment. You could start a committee of interested residents to create an action plan for potential land preservation. They could also develop partnerships with local nonprofits who are engaged in land conservation like the local Park Board or conservation department. Green spaces are important to our health, mentally and ecologically. These green spaces could be intermingled with the Greenway bicycle and pedestrian trails to encourage people to use this as a form of transport.

Fuel-efficient cars – Everyone knows fuel-efficient cars get much better gas mileage but there are also other important environmental advantages such as releasing fewer emissions and carbon dioxide is cut in half. Electric cars are the most fuel-efficient. There are no tailpipes so no omissions can escape. Their motors convert 75% of the chemical energy from the batteries to power the wheels. You can compare that to conventional gasoline powered engines which produce only 20% of the energy stored in gasoline. Carpooling Promoting carpooling is another recommendation that could move your city toward a more eco-friendly community. Studies have shown that the average American car emits 23,600 pounds of CO2 a year. If four people shared rides in one car the emission savings would be three times that amount. The riders are also saving on gas, wear and tear on their car as well as maintenance. Encouraging large manufacturing companies to promote carpooling with their employees could help implement this system. They could offer incentives such as prime parking spaces.

These recommendations are good in theory but difficult to implement. Retrofitting and upgrading the city’s public transportation and heavy machinery will take additional funds or diverting funds from other necessary projects. Urban forestry and green spaces like creating bicycle pedestrian trails also take funds to complete and a lot a promotion to get community buy-in so they will be used. Carpooling has to work on many levels like similar work schedules, riders need to be compatible, the sacrifice of independence of doing errands on the way home and the number of riders needs to stay consistent. And promoting fuel-efficient cars would need funds for marketing plan to justify the initial cost which is more than traditional gas engines. In addition electric cars have no infrastructure built in to refuel electricity across the country yet. Nothing worth having is usually easy but in this case well worth the effort.

It will be a slow progress to turn the environment back to a safe and sustainable world but in the process we are saving ourselves. A look into 50 years from now could see big urban cities decaying from the inside out if a pro-active stance to save their ecosystems were never taken. We need to keep that in mind when voting for and supporting these positive changes. It’s our own humanity we are saving.

When Non-Profits Go Astray

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What is a non-profit exactly? A nonprofit organization (NPO, also known as a non-business entity) is an organization that uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing its surplus income to the organization’s directors as profit or dividends. They have a tax exempt status granted by the Internal Revenue Service after conditions are met such as purpose, limitations on spending and external safeguards.

The main purpose of a nonprofit is to serve the needs of the communities they have indicated in their application. They are not “agencies” or “businesses” they are private as opposed to governmental, self-governing, voluntary and of public benefit. In the United States there are three main economic sectors that serve the citizens “wants” and “needs”. These are the government, the for-profits and the nonprofits. For- profits supply our “wants” based on supply and demand. These profits are based on delivering those products and services to the consumer for a price. These are the community’s desires beyond their needs.

The non-profit is responsible for “needs” that the government does not have a direct responsibility to deliver. These needs and a goal to achieve them should be instilled in the mission statement. The problem that often raises its head is when the aggressive hunt for money wedges itself between the mission and the survival of the organization.

Nonprofits begin their noble causes no doubt with services and programs to fill those gaps of need but they must be ever diligent they do not get engulfed by their collaboration with the donor class to the extent it offers only token assistance to the people it serves causing it to smack against their mission. Once they demoralize that, you must ask why their doors remain open at all.

Not all nonprofits fall prey to the irresistible security money and power offer. However, those that do, make you wonder if the acquired wealth they accumulate is for the advancement of who they serve or who serves them.

Nearly all men can stand adversity,

but if you want to test a man’s character,

give him power.   — Abraham Lincoln

For My Mother

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My sister and I told our Mother we would never put her in a nursing home. That’s what we told her, my sister and me, without a thought about our own job commitments and physical limitations or the fact that Mom might eventually need 24-hour care with her Parkinson diagnosis advancing. Although our intentions were courageous there finally came a day that we had to break that promise even though we fought hard for every option we could scrape up.

So what were we so afraid of that a nursing home would be the very last option? The fears were many and unfortunately all too common. The primary ones were lack of quality care and compassion, neglect, bad food, loss of autonomy and deterioration of her mental health. Like almost all grown children faced with this decision we were somewhat optimistic at first, thinking if we looked hard enough we would be able to find that one nursing home that really cared, and, they would take Medicaid.

Even though I worked in the disability field at the time with experience to the contrary, my hopes were high. We carefully screened three or four skilled nursing facilities and included Mother in all the decision-making. By the time two months had passed we were transferring her into a third one. The nursing homes changed but the problems remained.

This process was wearing on Mother’s normally strong, courageous and happy attitude. I can tell you from experience that even the most aware and extrovert personalities will succumb to the daily chipping away of their self esteem until all that remains is the defeated complaining, and most important, complacent, victim. That is what happened to our Mother and in the end fear resided within her and she begged us not to “stir up” trouble as they make her pay for it later with neglect.

There are circumstances that I feel give way to a propensity for corruption of nursing home services. I have listed these below.

  • A lot of registered nurses, because of inexperience or just plain “burn-out”, are unable to see past the documents they are required to complete to the true priorities in caring for their floor – safety, hydration, and attention to serious medical problems, adequate nutrition and cleanliness. Mainly for cost savings, nurse’s aides fill these important roles while the nurse does the exhausting paperwork. My Mother and many others on her floor seldom saw a nurse even though C-Diff infection continually ran rampant throughout the nursing home.
  • Lack of supervisory staff especially on evening and all night shifts allows thievery and neglect and even abuse.
  • Nursing aides and C.N.A.’s are hired and kept on minimum wages. They are not honored or valued for the compassionate work they do. This leaves an employee pool of mostly inexperienced, undereducated employees that are more often than not in desperate financial crisis. And, as anyone knows desperate people do desperate things.
  • Lack of sensitivity training and communication skills leaves patients and their loved one frustrated and angry.
  • Social Workers for the Nursing Homes are responsible for the entire population of residents.       Almost always they have the education but no hands-on experience as well as no idea how to apply the social work “theories” so neatly addressed in text books to the overwhelming reality of old age. Once again, social workers directly out of school with no experience are less costly for the establishment.
  • A kind of desensitizing effect happens as patients become room numbers and bed numbers.       Being kind or socializing means you might become “attached” and then lose them.

I have been in a few decent nursing homes; however, they did not take Medicaid. And, in the nurse’s defense I think they probably started out caring and ended up in such a governmental paperwork cave-in that they just gave up trying. I really see the focus of the problem being how the money is allocated through reimbursements from both Medicaid and Medicare. Below I have included some ideas that I think would go a long way to solve at least some of the problems.

  • Wage Pass-Through – I was reading about this on the Internet as a way to get the money directly to the people who do most of the work. A certain portion of public Medicaid monies can be passed on directly to nursing assistants. States could look at this policy instead of Medicaid monies going for overhead, misuse and profit first.
  • Minimum staffing laws that are strictly enforced. Training and testing that a new employee must complete before starting. Review testing during six-month reviews.
  • Allow residents to spend time with the facility’s dog or cat for emotional therapy of unconditional love. Non-Medicaid expensive nursing homes do this and it is very therapeutic.       It’s a shame that the no-pet restriction is usually only for poor people.
  • Nursing Home Workers Unions – this is done in some states and the quality of staff and treatment of patients has shown a rise in quality.
  • Put in severe consequences when prosecuting corrupt nursing home corporations that defraud elderly Americans of huge amounts of money that should go to their care.       Let this country take a stand – if you steal money intended for the care of our mothers and fathers, you will go to prison for a long time.
  • All managers and supervisors read the study, “Quality in Long Term Care-What We Can Learn from Nursing Assistants”
  • Take residents for walks or get a tandem bike for those who are able to ride one.       But, most of all get them outside.
  • Put their pictures on their doors (Younger ones too) and who they were, what they did.       Some nursing homes are doing this now.
  • Give nursing assistants a break. Congress should consider changing the Federal Tax Code to include, for example, something like, “If an individual is employed as a direct caregiver and earns fewer than 30K a year, one thousand dollar tax credit is available.
  • Let residents vote on a different “employee of the month” and give that staff a small bonus or gift certificate or time off with pay

These are just some of the ideas I had. I am sure there are many more by frustrated loved ones like me. There has to be a better way than the current “waiting rooms” for death approach. At least now there is an option for aging in place with home care assistants like the programs from Independent Living Centers but still no funding for 24hr care.

My Mother did not have a dignified ending like my sister and I had longed for. She suffered for almost a year with C-Diff infection that half the nursing home had. It causes fever, diarrhea, vomiting and weakness. Mother had lost nearly half her weight from hardly eating and vomiting what she did get down. She sat in her recliner one evening ringing and calling for a staff that never came to help her to the bathroom. Sitting in her own urine all night was more than she could endure. She pushed herself up but before she could safely reach her bed just a foot away, she slipped in her own urine and broke her hip. A day later we were told about it when they decided to take her to the hospital. She had successful hip surgery but chose death anyway and refused food and water rather than life at the nursing home. Three days later she died. They called it “failure to thrive”.

No kidding.

The Family Conference

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The Family Conference

This was and still is, I might add, a very important part of our family tradition even as adults. I have always thought this was one of the most important ways to teach self-esteem and self-empowerment. Children long to be included in decision making. These “conferences” were a place where what they say counts and most importantly, and most of all what they feel counts. If memory serves me, I think I remember some of the more important reasons family conferences were held:

  • Weekend plans
  • Chores
  • Vacation destinations
  • We are moving (again)
  • Someone’s starting a new job
  • Problems with friends or classmates
  • Moving rooms or sleeping places
  • Christmas
  • The stars, the heavens & why are we here?
  • Someone wants more freedom

It is a bonding experience where the older ones can help the younger ones cope and understand their problems using their own experiences. Children need to be taken seriously in this way. Our life style seemed to be always a chaotic frenzy of time schedules where most of the time I listened to them all with one ear while preparing dinner, throwing coins in the laundry machines at the laundry mat, picking up the house and french braiding someone’s hair while getting ready for work.

Family Conferences allowed me to “table” a decision on something until a day off and more peace prevailed. In the meantime the person who called the family conference would need to gather what they wanted to change and why. Listing on paper was highly encouraged in hopes of minimizing the blank look and shoulder shrugging. The kids all became quite the little litigators using this method. Most teachers were impressed by their quick reasoning powers. No one was allowed to state a problem without at least three solutions as options to decide on. This little rule drove them all crazy but made excellent problem solvers in the long run. Of course the solutions had to be reasonable. For instance, posting an index card on the laundromat bulletin board offering your sister for free babysitting, house cleaning, garbage taking out, would not be considered reasonable. Lots of little old ladies answered that invitation to my everlasting frustration.

If the conference was about moving there were pictures, maps and information about the proposed area. Exact dates and time and reason of moving was also open for discussion. The same was true for holidays, vacations and weekend visits to relatives.

Children, I learned, are bright, clear, aware, flexible, and come to the table uncluttered with old history or old society beliefs. They teach you to think out of the box. They were all very creative and astonishing with solutions. It made very clear the fact that we were all in this together and that knowledge made for a circle of bonding full of respect and caring. It taught them that there was nothing you could not get through. They found out that through it all no one knows you better than your family. No one is better to take charge when you can’t. They had experience beyond their years by solving, changing and being honored for who you are.

Honor your children and never lose the family empowerment circle of respect.

Are We Being Warehoused?

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Are we warehousing our people? Institutions have been banned long ago but there is a subtle, ever so gentle push to contain, manage and control citizens who have similarities. These similarities are not physical but based on a much more pervasive demographic. These citizens are our seniors, the disabled and low income of our community. Senior housing, section 8, HUD housing and accessible complexes lure citizens by offering amenities specific to their needs. All fine and good but makes you wonder why the American culture is so dead set on categorizing its citizens. This categorization starts at the funding source itself. The qualifying criteria of government programs demands a label.

I agree there are gated communities where people choose to live around their own peers of the same social status. That is fine and it is their choice. It is America and we are supposed to have freedom of choice. But here’s the disparity, the financially stable “choose” and the low income citizens “qualify”. Money should not be the benchmark of a person’s worth to society. Unfortunately it is the standard by which budgetary funding also rest on. It’s always about the money. It’s more expedient to build apartments that are all user-friendly to the occupants needs. I get that. Instead of ordering one roll-in shower component the contractor can order 100 and get a price break. It’s easier to build senior units all without step entry rather than a few at a regular apartment complex. But we are using this justification to place individuals and separate them like cattle into appropriate barns.

Why not separate young adults from middle age adults? Separate smart people from average people and so on. I’m not saying wanting to be around people like yourself is wrong by any means. What I’m trying to say is that not having a choice is wrong. We desperately need more integration and less isolation. The wealthy in America represent only around 10% of our population. That 10% can make any choices they desire while the 80% must qualify, if not now, usually by late adulthood.

If housing was built using universal design anyone could live anywhere. The cost for building would be the same regardless of the occupants needs. Some seniors prefer to live with neighbors their own age but some do not. The seniors I’ve interviewed feel its depressing and one step from the nursing home but have no other option. Many of the residents I spoke with who live in expensive retirement communities have moved back to individual residents complaining their autonomy was compromised by the cruise ship activity mentality at the big retirement complexes. At least their own financial security allowed them to make that choice. Categories may make it easier to finance and serve the people with disabilities, seniors and low income but it smacks in the face of American freedoms.

Normal? Count Me Out!

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I don’t want to be normal. I don’t want to always fit in, cow down or blend in. But in the great diverse nation of America normal is what’s being insisted on in schools, workplaces and communities. So who decides what is normal? Normal is what the culture in a society says it is based on the majority consensus. Society’s influences plays a huge part. Where do most of these influences come from? Besides religious beliefs they primarily come from marketing and the media. Some of the most pervasive and influential ads come from the pharmaceutical companies. They make you reevaluate your physical and mental health by asking if you ever feel down, laugh too long, go to the bathroom too frequently or get a headache from stress. Then they show you the solution in the form of their pill or liquid that will bring you back to “normal”.

Of course if symptoms lasts for more than a month or so you probably should seek a doctor’s advice but if it’s just a reaction to a crisis or upset and lasts just a day or two you could probably just use coping skills. And, they are not the only marketing schemes meant to bring you the ability to fit in with society. Manufacturing industries, cosmetic companies and fine jewelry also promote a “keeping up with the Joneses” solution by purchasing their cutting edge products.
I have always questioned why things are the way they are, and it just concerns me what influences the society I live in to make the rules of conformity for “normal” because it influences city ordinances, government guidelines and even education. The criteria to access benefits in your community is based on what that society perceives your needs are according to their perception of normal.

Public schools try to be a little more flexible with things like clothing and hairstyles. But any individualism like tattoos, too many earrings, hair colors or anything else that they deem distracting to other “normal” students is forbidden. The workplace is worse because it is usually up to the management and their perceptions of normal as to the expectations of self-identity. Noncompliance could cost you your job.
Personally, I’m not comfortable with conflict and the stress it creates. I think most people feel this way and so we comply. Unless you are filthy rich, and eccentric, bucking the system of normal is too high of a risk and too easy to be ostracized. However, I believe we have more power than we know we do. The influence of marketing and media are based on profits. If they are pulling the strings of influence we have the ability to cut those strings. Not all marketing and media are negative though. Some ads can be very informative in ways that promote further research that otherwise would have been ignored. We can promote those marketing and media efforts and ignore or refuse to buy things that promise to fix us so that we “fit in”. We can live by example and become the individual accepting diversity and even promote it. We can produce a consumer demand from that more diverse culture. We have always had the power over big business but sometimes it can be too easy to be lulled by their persuasive melody.

It’s Not Debtors Prison But Pretty Close

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Can the state actually take your home for medical bills? Under certain conditions the answer is yes and it targets the elderly specifically. This federal law has been a well-kept secret since its inception in 1993 when all states had the option since Medicaid began in 1965 to recover some medical cost from recipients after they die. However, it was optional and states could only recoup Medicaid costs spent on those 65 years or older. When Congress passed the 1993 omnibus budget bill it “required” states to recover the expense on long-term care and related costs for deceased Medicaid recipients at 65 or older. The affordable care act did nothing to change this existing federal law. It did however move the age backward to 55 years old after considering the aging baby boomer population on the horizon. That puts potentially more estates on the hook for Medicaid reimbursements after the beneficiary dies. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program and as in any other program receiving money from the federal government, can be penalized for not complying with federal criteria.

So what does that mean exactly? It simply means that if you or your parent or your grandparent owns a home or property and is over the age of 55 could find themselves in a position of a lien on their home to recoup Medicaid spending after they die. No one expects to be a user of the Medicaid program but long-term illnesses or severe accidents that can cap out the best insurance policy can land us there in a matter of days. The services that the state Medicaid program seek recovery for is nursing facility services, home and community-based services, and related hospital and prescription drug services. There are “some” stipulations that could keep them from placing a lien on the individual’s home. The areas where states may not recover monies is if the individual is survived by a spouse who lives in the home, a child under 21, or blind or disabled child of any age living in the home. However, considering this age group that criteria usually does not apply.

The best advice of course, if you can financially afford it, is to talk with an Elder Law attorney in your local state. If you cannot afford one however here are some thoughts that might help you out.

  • The “look back” period to transfer property in order to be eligible for Medicaid is five years. Most times people don’t have this option as a sudden illness appears unexpectedly. But if you think you have the time to put your home in a loved one’s name or friend before something happens that would be the best course of action.
  • If there’s no one to leave the property to think of selling and using the money to sustain a lifestyle out of the nursing home and in your own control. You might be able to trade down to a smaller more accessible home.
  • You might even look into the reverse mortgage programs. If you qualify the money can help you stay out of the system by enabling you to remodel accessible features and give you control and independence that would allow you to remain in your own home.

Being proactive is the only way to ensure your house and property goes where you wanted to. You can research Medicaid Estate Recovery and liens on the web to get more information. You can also go to the website http://www.swcil.org and request free information. This is a nonprofit Center for Independent living serving people with any and all disabilities. They have many resources available and are always willing to assist you free of charge.