The Lives We Save
The best way to understand how Grand Family Planning helps families is to look at some of the work we’ve done. Each story we tell here is true, but to respect our client’s privacy, we don’t use their actual names. We are happy to provide references upon request.
Mom Doesn’t Have Dementia! Or Does She?
94 year old Mom fell and broke her collar bone. The unmarried son who had been living with her (and sponging off her) left town as soon as she landed in the hospital. Her married son and daughter in law took her in and provided excellent care.
A year and a half later, the caregivers were losing their minds. Mom had always been controlling, but now she was off the charts. They didn’t realize it, but she had developed dementia. They were busy trying to cope with Mom’s demands while living their lives and conducting their businesses. They were running out of patience.
When they came to us, we recommended respite: placing Mom “temporarily” in a nice home so the kids could breathe and figure out next steps. The family was so enchanted by the place we recommended, they moved Mom right in. They were thrilled. And we negotiated a very reasonable rent for Mom.
A sibling who had been out of the picture emerged, hired a lawyer and went after Mom to become her guardian (and controller of her “fortune”). We brought in our attorney and put the brakes on.
Our clients are grateful to have our team available to help deal with unforeseen family craziness as it unfolds. That’s the beauty of Grand Family Planning: we can’t anticipate everything, but we can rise to meet the challenges, and keep our clients from panicking when these situations arise.
We’ve Got This! Or DO We?
Ernie and Angie Gaines really had their hands full. With two teenage children at home, they had been primary caregivers to Angie’s grandmother and father (who passed away), as well as Ernie’s mother, Abigail, who at 94 had dementia, and was receiving care from hired aides in her own home nearby. Ernie was his mother’s Power of Attorney, and he had been managing her care as best he could. He was also coping with some setbacks in his professional life, and their finances were tight.
When they came to GFP, the Gaines family was stressed to the max. Abigail’s assets were being rapidly depleted. The aides caring for her cost over $12,000 each month! And they weren’t thrilled with the care she was receiving, either. They didn’t know where to turn.
Since Abigail lived in her own home and owned it outright, we connected Ernie with one of our Reverse Mortgage specialists. We also got our Medicaid expert on the case to apply for benefits. And we brought in new highly trained caregivers, cutting their bill down to $8,000 a month while providing a higher level of care.
The family is delighted. They now have ample resources to pay for Abigail’s care, drawing on her Reverse Mortgage credit line as needed. The Medicaid application has been filed, and the benefits will help pay for her care in home. (As her needs change, we can help with placement in a facility). The family can now take respite with confidence, knowing that Abigail is receiving great care. They have tremendous peace of mind, and can’t get over how well their loved one looks and behaves. Everyone’s quality of life has improved, and Ernie and Angie have begun their own planning for their future and the well-being of their beloved children.
This couple came to us through their adult son. George and Jemma Murphy owned their home, but they had little in savings. Jemma, 71, was healthy and still working while George, 77, was enjoying his retirement. They had pensions, and George was collecting Social Security. They were both on Medicare for health insurance. Two of their 3 adult sons are married and have children. No wills or estate planning existed, which concerned their children. And Jemma was troubled because they had not filed their tax returns since the turn of the century, and she was losing sleep over that situation.
We arranged for the Murphys to see one of our estate planning attorneys. And we connected them with our partner who works with the IRS to determine their tax liability, how many returns required filing, and resolved their obligations at far less expense than Jemma had feared.
To ensure they were utilizing Medicare to their advantage, we introduced them to a Medicare broker. At no cost to them, their plans were reviewed and they now know they have the right coverage for their needs.
So, the Murphys can sleep well, knowing their needs have been addressed, and their children are happy, too! We’re hopeful the next generation will follow their parents’ lead and start their planning for a worry-free future.
“I Can Tend My Garden”
Maria was a single woman in her 50s with a high level job at an international bank in New York. One of six children, she took on the responsibility of caregiving her parents (who are in their 80s) in her home in the northeast over 4 years ago. Her parents moved from the midwest to live with their daughter.
Customizing the layout of her suburban one-family residence, Maria took excellent care of her mother and father. The demands of her position led her to hire professional help in her home to ensure her parents’ care while she worked each day. She also took counsel on her caregiving decisions from her older brother and sister.
Her father suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. It was painful watching this strong patriarch deteriorate, and it was heartbreaking when his descent into dementia further complicated the situation.
Becoming sick and frail, Maria’s father was hospitalized, and then sent to rehab for therapy to help with his physical condition. Three months in that facility did not have as positive an outcome as the family had hoped, and it looked as if moving him to a nursing home was the most sensible next move.
When I met Maria, she was tormented by the decisions she was being asked to make. Her brother and sister thought it impractical for their father to return to her home for care. The facility wanted to move Dad to their nursing home as his Medicare benefit for 90 days of skilled nursing was running out.
Already scheduled to have a meeting with the facility’s staff, I advised Maria not to make any commitments or sign anything at that meeting. Unfortunately, she was intimidated and acquiesced. Her father was moved to the nursing home.
Conferring with my colleagues, we knew the reputation of the facility in question and were not supportive of the decision to move Dad to that particular place, but Dad was transferred anyway.
The next day, Maria received and forwarded their first invoice for over $27,000. This was not surprising, but the damage was done.
In the weeks that followed, Maria kept careful tabs on her father and learned that he was not being fed, bathed or taken to the bathroom. He lost weight. His condition worsened.
Meanwhile, our team and I got to work. We had a conference call with the family. Their initial reticence disappeared. The day after our call, Maria reported that her siblings were thrilled that she’d found us. They were on board with our plans.
We began a multi-pronged approach: our Medicaid expert began the application for both of her parents. Our care manager teamed up with a geriatric doctor to document the father’s condition and care plan. A new facility was chosen for the father’s care which was less than half the cost of the facility he was in, and where he was bathed regularly, fed three times daily and taken to the bathroom as needed. He gained 7 pounds the first week at the place we recommended.
Meanwhile, our Medicaid expert got the applications for both parents successfully processed without penalties. Mom was approved for community Medicaid (for in home care) and Dad was approved for facility Medicaid.
Maria resumed gardening in the spring and has become more involved in the nurture of her grand-nephew and his mother, her beloved niece. She was finally able to sleep at night, knowing that her parents’ needs were being addressed appropriately, much more affordably, with compassion and skill.
As we proceed with her parents’ plan, we are also keeping Maria on track for her own plan. She’s in good health now, but someday, she won’t be. And being single, she WILL need to appoint an advocate. We will do everything we can to make sure she receives the best care possible when it’s her turn, and maximize the legacy she leaves to her heirs. There is no more loving act a person can perform than to plan for their respective futures.
The Old Switcheroo
Tess was up from North Carolina helping her aging father in New Jersey. She and her husband, both in their 50s, were building a new home in their area to accommodate themselves, their young adult daughter and Tess’s elderly dad.
In the middle of caregiving her father, Tess got an unpleasant surprise: her 78 year old aunt, who never married or had children, had landed in the hospital. Having no other advocate or relative, the aunt’s care fell on Tess. As if taking care of her father and her own family and responsibilities back home weren’t enough, this difficult relative, who had done no planning whatsoever, was dropped on Tess’s very full plate.
Despite health issues of her own, and concerns about her husband’s health (he had survived a heart attack), Tess willingly took on caring for her father. They had always been close; they even worked together professionally. She fully expected to care for him. And while her father’s planning had some holes, at least he and Tess had “the talk” and had a direction. Tess’s aunt was difficult, stubborn and uncooperative.
Not knowing where to turn, Tess attended an estate planning workshop held by one of our attorneys, where I had spoken about Grand Family Planning’s capabilities. She was eager to accept our help.
Good thing. There was a LOT of work to do. Tess was helping her aunt without the legal authority to do so. She already had a good sense of the trouble her aunt was in. But we had to move quickly.
Auntie was transferred to rehab from the hospital, but thanks to an uncaring system (and her aunt’s lack of planning or resources), she was only allowed three weeks to recover. Her apartment was a filthy, cluttered three story walk up, and the facility was ready to unsafely discharge her to her inappropriate and inaccessible rooms.
Our team intervened, negotiated an extra night at the facility, transferred her to a clean, safe, modestly priced facility. We arranged to have her legal paperwork executed at that residence, and even provided the witnesses needed to have the documents duly completed.
Our Medicaid professional applied for Auntie’s benefits, and she is receiving the care she needs. Tess got to go back to her own home down south to oversee the construction of her new house while her father is cared for by a vetted, qualified professional in New Jersey.
Tess is still coping with a lot. But thanks to our team, she and her loved ones are all receiving the care they need, and Grand Family Planning continues to provide support and guidance as the situation evolves.
Work In Progress
Some of the cases we’re working on include:
- A woman in her 80s living independently in her own home, who is forgetting how to drive and isn’t taking her medications as her cognition declines
- A family with a 95 year old demented grandmother being cared for by her granddaughter and daughter, who disagree on placement.
Their children are grateful. We are saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars. We are protecting generations from the ravages and expense of illness. We bring quality of life back to our clients. And we love what we do.