Column: Where will you live when you get older?My husband and I recently bought a new house, and as I walk up the twelve (fairly steep) steps from the entry level to the main living level, I sometimes wonder if we should have looked at a home that is more “elder friendly” — i.e., all one level.
By: Ann Busche, For the Budgeteer News
My husband and I recently bought a new house, and as I walk up the twelve (fairly steep) steps from the entry level to the main living level, I sometimes wonder if we should have looked at a home that is more “elder friendly” — i.e., all one level.
I quickly erase those thoughts, because I really love the house and the location, and instead say to myself that those steps will keep me fit as I go up and down them in the coming years.
I think we all hope we can age in a healthy way and stay in the homes that we love. However, as we age, our needs change. Those steps may become too difficult or become a fall risk, and a rural setting may now be too much to maintain or be too isolated. It’s important to think about staying safe as we age, and there are many services out there to help make sure that happens, but one of the big questions is “How will we pay for those services?”
One of the misconceptions that I hear frequently is that Medicare will pay, so no worries. The truth is that Medicare (health insurance available to those over 65 years of age and those deemed disabled) does pay for some services but generally speaking, Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. Most long-term care is assisting people with support services such as activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. Medicare doesn’t pay for this type of care called “custodial care.” Medicare pays for only medically necessary skilled nursing facility or home health care; however, you must meet certain
conditions for Medicare to pay for these types of care. I won’t go into all the details, because it can get fairly complicated, and it’s better to discuss specifics with an expert who can help you.
Fortunately, we have that expertise in the form of the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging. They operate the Senior Linkage Line, a one-stop shop for Minnesota Seniors. To call, simply dial (800)232-0707. Your call will be prefix-routed back to the call center, and answered by specialists in Duluth.
The staff at the Senior Linkage Line can help you find services in the area that will help you stay in your home. Should you need to move out of your home to remain safe, they can provide a listing of the living options available in the area. They can also guide you through the financial aspects, whether that’s helping you select the most appropriate Medicare plan based on your specific health issues, or building a budget so you can better estimate how long your personal resources will cover the care you need.
The staff at the Senior Linkage Line can also direct you to services within St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services if they determine you would benefit from our help. They truly are a one-stop shop for Minnesota seniors. You can also check them out online at www.arrowheadaging.org.
Ann Busche is the director of the St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services department. Contact her at 726-2096 or buschea@ co.st-louis.mn.us.