• Ana

    Florida

     

    Angela is a full-time office manager and caregiver for her 84-year-old mother Ana, who suffered a massive stroke four years ago. For Angela, being with her mother is an act of love, but she needs help.

  • Angela is a full-time office manager and caregiver for her 84 year old mother Ana, who suffered a massive stroke four years ago. In a flash, Ana went from being an active, independent senior citizen who enjoyed gardening and sewing to someone who required 24-hour care.
     
    After months of rehabilitation at a nursing home, Ana remains partially paralyzed with cognitive impairment.
     
    For Angela, being with her mother is an act of love. But she needs help.
     
    “I will always take care of my mother, until the day she dies,” says Angela, who moved in with her mother to be at her side, leaving her husband behind in their former household.
     
    Ana uses a walker with assistance but can’t be left unsupervised. Through her Medicaid long term care plan, she has a home health aide for 33 hours a week. This leaves Angela, who also works full time, to care for her the remainder of the time, which often means losing sleep to monitor her mother’s night-time wanderings.
     
    “The other day my husband came by to visit and found me in a deep sleep in the living room,” Angela says. “My mother was teetering on the edge of her recliner right next to me. I had no idea. She could have fallen and broken her hip. That’s my greatest fear.”
     
    “I could use more help but I don’t want to ask for it. I feel intimidated or like I’m overreaching because I know there’s so much need in the community,” says Angela, who works for an organization that supports senior citizens.

    When I think about the elderly in our community who don’t have children to help them, who can’t advocate for themselves and don’t even know where to get help,

    I feel so sorry and frightened for them.”

  • “When I think about the elderly in our community who don’t have children to help them, some of them who can’t advocate for themselves and don’t even know where to get help, I feel so sorry and frightened for them,” Angela says.

     

    Angela should not have to feel conflicted about seeking the help she and her mother need.  Home and community based services save the state money, and allow for individuals with serious care needs to maintain dignity, and be close to their loved ones.  Florida needs more resources for these services, so more people can benefit, and are able to receive the appropriate level of care. More state resources mean caregivers can spend their time caring for their loved ones, rather than battling a bureaucracy that often feels stacked against them.
     
    Florida Health Justice Project (FHJP) offers seniors and their caregivers and advocates a Guide to the Florida Long-term Care Medicaid Waiver program that explains how to access Medicaid home and community-based services for frail elderly and disabled Floridians who want to stay out of nursing homes but need help to live at home. The Guide explains who’s eligible, how to apply and what to do if an application is denied or delayed, and how the waitlist works. A shorter Know Your Rights flyer is also available in English and Spanish.
     
    FHJP is also sharing the stories of Florida families struggling with access to affordable health care and home-health care, as an alternative to nursing home services. The public, the media and Florida’s lawmakers need to understand how the lack of resources for home health care is impacting Floridians. You can share your story and be part of the solution to achieve health equity in Florida.

     
    *Stock Photo