Being There "In Person"
A "Must Do" During Healthcare Crisis
By Evelyn (Evie) Preston, The Money Lady
Like many seniors, my later years encompassed caregiving—
my husband at home and my brother across country.
In both cases, I have amazing anecdotes proving the power of advocacy with doctors, hospitals and other services—a gift to loved ones. I also cheer the personal and efficient end of life hospice care each received—a gift to everyone.
“Being there” in person, via phone, online or by letter while staying consistent, firm and considerate is a must-do during healthcare contingencies. It keeps us prepared for whatever comes and will be. Facts, costs and patient wishes all add to effective advocacy and
final decision making.
Q: In addition to HIPPA privacy restrictions mentioned in February’s Scoop, what are some other medical areas to
Organ donation which has been pushed as sorely needed to
extend life—kidneys, livers, hearts—may be a victim of its
successful research and education to date. In the zeal to provide transplants for the long queue of worthy recipients, there’s concern about the possibility of hastening medical death for expediency.
Horror stories abound of “harvesting” human organs in other countries. With advanced medication to avoid rejection adding to
the ever-growing demand, the wealthy can pay thousands but not
the mainstream or poor who may be left out.
Whether considering a life-giving donation or a lifesaving need, careful research into the pros and cons of organ donation/receiving
is required as well as assessment of the legitimate institutions and services who use and provide them. Cost is always a consideration.
Q: What are the main issues encountered in End-of-Life options?
An empowerment organization, Compassion and Choices, helps people plan ahead to match life’s end to the life they’ve always enjoyed via love, purpose, grace and dignity. The goal is to empower people to obtain the care they want and need during serious or final illness. The organization recommends a book, Finish Strong by Senior Advisor Barbara Coombs Lee that helps: take control, act as positive advocates for ourselves and others, navigate choices, obtain free consultations and understand various states’ options. Check out
their online guide and toolkit of ideas. Cost is part of the equation.
Q: What’s the difference between palliative and hospice care?
Misconceptions abound. Palliative care is designed to improve one’s quality of life short or long term. Its diverse support keeps patients in control as they deal with chronic illness, debilitating therapies and other medical conditions that require assistance and maintenance. This usually takes place at home.
Hospice, at home or elsewhere, helps meet and treat the conditions and challenges at the end of life. The cost of each service may be
all or partially offset by Medicare and insurance.
Dispelling myths about end of life care requires homework before
the need arises. From basic U.S. law to personal choice, treatments and hospitalization reflect family and spiritual input—the road to
successful outcomes. Knowledge is not only power but comfort and support for patients and family.
Q: Does Medicare also cover long-term care?
Medicare and most health insurance plans do not pay for long-term care. I’ve noted before that separate LTC policies require close scrutiny due to: premium costs, age, changing rules, plan amenities and restrictions. While LTC is effective coverage in dire cases, becoming self-insured (savings) covers funding for most people.
As always, staying healthy and active can greatly offset “long-term” care needs as we age.
Evelyn (Evie) Preston is a financial columnist for A050 and worked as a financial advisor for over 25 years. Reach her at 650.494.7443.