B.O. is the principal caregiver for her 88 year old mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. She’s also a caring mentor to the children she teaches to read. Now, in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis and as her mother’s mental and physical health deteriorates, the school year is resuming. Can she do both? Not without more help from home-based health care aides.
“My mother cannot be left alone,” she says. “She’s at risk for falls. She won’t eat if she’s left alone. She gets disoriented.”
B.O. considers herself and her mother to be relatively “fortunate”, as her mother is enrolled in Florida’s Long-term Care (LTC Waiver), a program funded by Medicaid and administered by managed care organizations. The program, which provides home and community based services (also referred to as “HCBS”), is an alternative to nursing homes. Her mother spent a year on the waitlist for long-term care. B.O. could have sent her to a nursing home without any waiting, but that was not what she wanted. And now, with COVID-19, a nursing home is unthinkable. But B.O. and others in her position need much more help than they have been getting since the onset of COVID-19.