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.
“I Can Tend My Garden”
“Maria” (not her real name) is 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 beautiful 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 to me. I shook my head and thought “I’m not surprised.” 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, my 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” (not her real name) 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.
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) went AWOL as soon as she landed in the hospital. Her married son and daughter in law took her in and gave her 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 dementia. They were busy trying to cope with Mom’s demands while living their lives and running 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.
Work In Progress
Some of the cases we’re working on include:
- A couple in their 70’s who have adequate income, but no wills or assets beyond their home (and we helped them resolve 10 years of unfiled tax returns)
- A family paying over $12,000 a month for in home care (NOT A NURSING HOME) for their 90+ loved one with dementia
- 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
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.