One of the most difficult problems that I had to deal with regarding my mother's health and long term care situation involved convincing her to agree to hire a home health care aide. My mother had the foresight to purchase long term care insurance. This policy provided for home healthcare, adult day care and assisted living benefits. She was concerned about utilizing the benefit of the insurance policy since the benefits were limited to $125 per day over a period of five years.
At the time my mother was 85 years of age, single and living alone in Florida in her own condominium unit. My brothers lived in Atlanta and Scottsdale, Arizona and I lived in the Northeastern part of the country. None of us lived close by and we all had a concern about our mother's well being and her ability to drive. We wanted to make certain that she was taking her medications correctly and eating a nutritious diet of three meals a day. Unfortunately, our father had passed away in his late 50s. Mother began to experience certain health related problems and her eyesight in one eye had begun to fail. Yet she was a fiercely independent woman who had lived alone for the past 30 years.
I remember my mother saying that she lived in a two bedroom condominium and was concerned that a caregiver would just sit around and watch her all day. It is important to remember that home health care aides can be hired for as little as four hours a day to provide certain caregiving activities. They can also be hired to work only a few days a week. We also advised our mother that the home health care aide could take her grocery shopping, to the mall, to the beauty shop and to her numerous doctors' appointments. We also gave her the option of moving closer to one of the three children. She totally resisted this option since she had friends and a significant other in her local Florida condominium community. In the end, she consented and we hired an aide using her long term care insurance benefits to assist her for four hours per day seven days a week. This continued for 1.5 years when we increased the hours to eight hours per day for the last year of her life.