Extra Medicare Help for Low Income Seniors

Well, it’s happened. My mom has reached the end of her money. Her Medicaid application is in process. I’ve also discovered that low-income seniors can get extra help with Medicare prescription drug premiums. It’s easy to apply on-line. I wish I’d realized sooner that she qualified.

The hard part comes when the Social Security office double checks with the bank and gets inaccurate information. When my mom moved to town, one of the first things I did was open a checking account for her at the bank I already use. My name is on her account, as well, because I take care of her bills.

My name is on five accounts at this particular bank, in fact: a joint checking account with my husband, a joint savings account with my husband, my daughter’s savings account, my son’s savings account and my mom’s checking account. Despite the number of accounts, it doesn’t add up to all that much somehow. But enough to disqualify my mom from help with her premiums when the bank erroneously reports the sum total to Social Security as *all* belonging to my mother. Hello. Her name is on exactly one account, the tiniest one. Her account is not even tied to the others; it’s not like I can transfer money back and forth.

I think I have it straightened out now and have her application moving forward again. Nothing’s ever simple, I tell you.

Postcards – a Practical Suggestion

Armchair travel and education - as easy as it gets.
Armchair travel and education – as easy as it gets.

 

My sister-in-law loves to send postcards. In addition to picking up new cards when traveling, she finds vintage stock at antique stores. My kids have enjoyed getting mail over the years, and examining the pictures on the front sides. Now she sends cards to my mom.

We’re fortunate to have a large extended family, even if none of them live in town. So a lot of people send cards to my mom. It’s sweet and picks up her spirits, knowing she’s not forgotten.

However, her fine motor skills and finger strength have degraded over time, so that even the act of opening an envelope can pose a challenge for her. She’s been known to save mail for a day or two until I visit, so I can open it for her. Postcards don’t present this problem. They arrive ready to read and enjoy the artwork.

True, there’s a lack of privacy, with the words there for anyone to see. But most of the cards Mom receives have no private information included anyway. And to be honest, not much is private in a skilled nursing setting.

I suggest more folks start sending postcards to their elderly relatives, especially the ones in poor health. They’re less expensive than greeting cards, both for the product and the postage. They often include a scene and a piece of information about it that can be a topic of interest and new information for the recipient. And they’re easy to tape or pin up for decoration.

As soon as I have time, I plan to hit a local antique store myself to see if I can score a handful. My mom’s not the only senior citizen amongst my relatives.

When the Sandwiching is Helpful

Were my kids completely grown and gone, I don’t know how I would have managed things last Friday. Sometimes, being in the sandwich generation means juggling priorities and trying to do too many things for too many people at the same time. Other times, it means you have a helpful teen on hand when you need one.

My daughter is 16, almost 17. She’s homeschooling this year, so her schedule is flexible. Good thing for all of us, as this meant she could go with me when I took my mom to get her new non-driver’s state ID. She moved here from another state, thus the need for a new photo ID. I both emailed and called the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles in advance, desperate to find someone who would tell me of a way I could get my mother’s non-driver’s license without having to bring her in. There is no way.

So off we went, my daughter and I, to fetch my mom and take her to the driver’s license office. It took two people to help Mom into and out of the car. Then one person had to walk with her and her walker to make sure she didn’t lose her balance or her way, while the other carried everything. I accompanied, my daughter filled the role of pack-horse. She also ran ahead to open doors for us, and parked the car in a legitimate space after my mom was out right next to the door (our disability hang tag is in the works, but not here yet.)

So, yeah, having the teens still at home can ease the workload on occasion. The kids are all right.