BUSINESS NAME AND POSITION: Elder Healthcare Services, CEO and Founder
LOCATION: 1404 Coney Island Avenue
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 20 years combined experience
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 5
For home care or any type of long-term care, they need the best type of Medicaid, and that’s called long-term care community Medicaid or CBLTC Community Based Medicaid. That is the best tier of Medicaid, and it covers everything from prescriptions to home health aide care. To qualify for CBLTC Community Medicaid services, participants must be at least 65 years old, and disabled. To help enrollers, we send them a starter kit with a checklist of items that they are going to need when applying, and we walk them through the process.
We have a variety of boutique home care agencies that we are affiliated with and they are all top-rated. This is a fickle and money-hungry industry, so we choose to work only with smaller agencies that can provide the customized and individual attention that best serves our clients. We assess each client individually, figure out their specific requirements, and then choose the agency that best suits their needs. For example, there are agencies that specialize in Parkinson’s disease, MS, dementia, and so on, and we match them accordingly.
3) Where do you get your aides from and what is the screening process?
We only work with agencies that have shown themselves to employ the best of the best. There is a rating system of 1 through 5, with five being the best, and we only deal with a rating of 4 or 5.
4) What is the job of a home care aide?
It varies from case to case, but basically, the aide’s job is to be a companion and helper for the client. They offer a variety of assistance to various types of patients: those who are elderly, chronically ill, or disabled, those who are cognately impaired, or those with special needs. Their duties may include reminding patients to take their medicine, assisting with personal hygiene, preparing meals, doing light housework, and shopping.
5) What is not their part of job?
I am glad you asked! Many people don’t know, but an aide is not allowed to administer medication; they are just supposed to remind the patient to take their medication. They are also not allowed to drive the client anywhere.
6) How do families know when it is the right decision is to put their elderly loved one in a nursing home as opposed to staying home?
I am not a fan of nursing homes. I look at them as a last resort when all other options have been explored.
Even the best and most expensive nursing homes cannot compare to being at home. They are typically understaffed, and there is a lack of proper supervision. This leads to a lackadaisical attitude and subpar care. Unless the family can visit daily, there will be neglect. I try my best to make sure no one goes into a nursing home. Anyone can understand that staying in one’s home is always the best circumstance since you are in the comforts of your own familiar surroundings with family nearby. You know where the steps are; you know where the handrails are located. It is just healthier to be in your own environment.
8) Wouldn’t seniors be safer in a facility that is equipped with medical equipment and staff?
No. I have seen too many horrors in facilities. I have seen patients deteriorate rapidly due to lack of care. You cannot compare the love and attention of a daughter, son, or any relative to a paid employee. When a loved one is cared for at home, they do better, and the family has peace of mind knowing that they are in control of their relative’s care instead of some institution or detached management. That being said, there are dire circumstances when a nursing home would be appropriate and needed.
9) Elder HCS offers help in setting up pooled income trusts and estate planning. Why they are so important?
There are guidelines and financial limits for Medicaid recipients. The first financial limit is an asset limit. An individual can have no more than $15,000 in combined assets and a couple can have no more than $22,600. Clients with assets in excess of the limits can consult with an Estate Planning or Elder Care attorney to shelter excess asset in an Irrevocable Living Trust. The second financial limit Medicaid has is the monthly income limit. The monthly income limit for and individual is $879 and a total combined monthly income of $1,267 for a couple. The biggest misunderstanding most people have relates to the income limit. If a client (or couple) is over the income limit we can assist them enroll in a Pooled Income Trust to become eligible. The excess income deposited into the Pooled Income Trust will be used to pay the client’s living expense (i.e. rent, utilities, etc) and therefore qualify the client for Medicaid. Many hear this and get discouraged and give up, but there are ways around this. One option that allows seniors to keep their money is by signing on to a pooled income trust. So really, it’s a myth that some people can’t get Medicaid because of income limits. EVERYONE is eligible for LTC Medicaid as long as they sign onto a pooled income trust.
10) When is the right time for children to gain power of attorney or to engage in health care proxies with their aging parents?
I would say 65 is a good age. There is no reason to wait until a crisis happens. Don’t wait for an emergency when you are stressed out. Industry predators can take advantage of you during your most vulnerable state. As soon as you notice any type of forgetfulness pop up, dementia, or your loved one receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is imperative to get the ball rolling. Don’t ignore your intuition. Anytime you are worried about your parents’ mental or physical state, take action immediately while your loved one is still fully cognizant.
11) What made you go into this industry?
A while ago, I was put up to the task of getting my grandparent homecare and Medicaid. What I witnessed was an absolute horror show. No one was willing to take time and properly explain the overwhelming process of applying for Medicaid. Sadly, the hospitals, nursing homes, and many in the healthcare industry have some sort of agenda and don’t really care about the patient. Everywhere I turned, someone was pushing me somewhere else, and everyone was charging insane amounts of money to get the process done without properly reviewing the system with me. I had to learn all this information on my own and decided to open an agency to help others feel safe and have one stop for all their elder healthcare needs. I am proud to say that my grandfather is 96-years-old and is still happily residing in his own home.
Navigating through Medicaid’s rules, regulations and requirement is no small task. It can be complicated (based on assets) and how to meet eligibility requirements can be confusing. We at Elder have a combined 20 years-worth of experience to help simplify, manage and set expectations throughout the home care planning process. We work with our staff estate planning attorneys for those clients needing estate planning services. The attorney we work with offer severely discounted fees.
12) Any advice for our readers?
Please speak to someone and do your own research before hiring an eldercare attorney. Go to a Medicaid consultation agency and get educated on pooled income trusts and power of attorney. Also, make sure to keep all your important documents, especially your Social Security award letter, together in one folder, so you’ll have it ready when needed.