My mother has Alzheimer's, and I know the time I have left with her is limited. She was an artist, also. I say "was", but she still likes to color. When I go visit her, that's what we do. The background in this piece is her work. The activity director at the nursing home makes copies of pages from coloring books for the residents to color.
I'm feeling compelled now to vent my frustration with the system that my mom is dependent on for her care. I don't normally write politically oriented commentaries, but I'm appalled by the ineptitude [I couldn't think of a better word; feel free to insert your own] of our Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid system to take care of our elderly. How can a woman who was born in this country, worked all her life and never used welfare, and has been qualified for this system for several years now suddenly not qualify!?
Let me back up and give a little history. My mom was already receiving SS when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I took care of her myself, but had to work, so I wasn't with her all the time. When her dementia got worse, I was able to get her qualified for an in-home care program designed to keep the elderly at home and out of the nursing homes. Her cognizant skills improved considerably after having a care taker come to the home a couple of hours a day five days a week. Then one day the omnipotent powers that be decided to assign her a new case worker. This new case worker, Donald Lockhart, decided with his infinite wisdom that my mother didn't qualify for this program. It was a mistake. "We don't babysit the elderly", he said. "Then what the hell do you do", I screamed back at him. He gave me some "by the book" answer, but basically it's left up to the case worker's discretion. Within a few months of his decision, she declined to the point that I was no longer able to care for her, and we had to put her in a nursing home. Now the tax payers are paying thousands of dollars a month instead of hundreds for her care, but that's not what upset me the most. We could have delayed the progression of the disease for a little while. We're talking about a human life that Mr. Lockhart obviously wasn't concerned about.
Well, it's been a couple of years since that decision. We finally found a home with a good activity program. She even showed some improvement again for a little while, but now there's a possibility that she's going to lose this care as well. Social Security has stopped her checks. They say she doesn't qualify, but they won't tell me why. They don't recognize Power of Attorney, so they won't talk to me. The nursing home thinks they may be able to find out why. They have forms my mom can sign allowing the nursing home to receive information. The lady that's helping us thinks her checks were stopped because she worked for the school district for a couple of years. The school district has their own retirement system which my mom doesn't receive. I've been told, though, that if SS upholds their decision, she will be cut off from her Medicare and Medicaid as well. Worse case scenario, the nursing home will pressure the family to come get her. If we don't, they'll call Adult Protective Services. How can our government spend millions of dollars on young mothers who have never worked a day in their lives, or illegal aliens and their children, and then deny my mother needed care!?