Memory Care and the United States Army Air Corps
By John Checki Jr. and J. J. Checki III
Let’s share a personal story. “Our brains are fat and lazy,” said Michael Kitces CFP® at the FPA DFW Conference 2017. In time, our brains have a tendency to wear out. Most of us have seen it in our family and or our friends. Yes, it is heart stopping and breaking, and can wear us out as well. Sometimes it is a long playing expensive experience.
My mother hit her 90s and began to get lonely and a little disoriented. As I was cleaning out her home, I saw a World War II wool Army Air Corps jump suit. It was my long deceased father’s. Holy cow, did that bring back memories. His stories about Texas, especially San Antonio, which he called San Antone, New Mexico, flying in WWII bombers he was repairing, shooting aircraft mounted machine guns into the desert (or is it dessert below), friendly natives, and other lively times of his life. The Army Air Corp morphed into the United States Air Force. WWII put my father and so many other fathers and mothers and families at risk fighting for freedom. Yet, it also gave my mother some benefits which she enjoys to this very day. Really?
The often mentioned and maligned United States Department of Veterans Affairs (aka VA) has benefits for veterans who served during war times. Wow! How does that work and how can we qualify?
Several years ago I had lunch with an old friend who was an expert at this, Mark Johnson. He told me, “Most of us (veterans) would prefer not to qualify.” Let me explain. To qualify, you need to be older, sicker, in assisted living or memory care, and broke. Which means, you would be unable to perform some daily requirements and have little to no income or resources.
How does this work? He suggested hiring an expert. Why? Well, like so many things in life it can be complicated if we are emotionally involved and doing it for someone we love. The experts who have been trained and seasoned with experience can even be certified in VA and Medicaid Benefits, I am told. Schooled, trained and certified. I was warned they can be licensed to sell annuities and might charge a fee to walk us through the process. They could help fill out the forms, direct us on what documentation we would need and where and when to file what forms and supporting documents. They might even be able to refer us to an experienced attorney who is board certified in such matters. Some of these attorneys actually go to the assisted living and memory care units to produce and execute the documents. What a relief.
How does someone end up in a Memory Care Unit? Almost everyone I’ve talked to does not want to go to the laughing academy. (Memory Care Unit or Assisted Living home.) Many of us do not embrace change in diet, address, or thought process. So, again how does this work?
We fade out, get hospitalized, and the staff informs us we can’t go home and take care of ourselves anymore. We get sent to rehab, and they recommend assisted living. This is exactly what our parents, aunts and uncles do not want to happen. This is for those who refuse to plan ahead.
Some people do plan and implement their plan in advance and don’t go that route.
Let me walk you through our personal Nana story. My father died in October of 1977. My mom was born in 1922, so at 55 she was a widow living in Grand Prairie, Texas. She lived there alone for many years, helped us with our family and other people with theirs. She served churches and The Seven Hundred Club. For years I asked my mom to plan ahead. She assured me when she got older, and fading, she would curl up her toes and die. It did not happen that way.
I called her every day and visited her often, bought her one of those “Help I have fallen down and can’t get up necklaces and bracelets.” It came with a key holder for the front door so the Emergency Medical Technicians could ring the doorbell and gain entrance to her home. She enjoyed vising with the EMTs. One day she, who could not easily walk from one side of her house to the other, decided to walk to Kroger’s. (Yes, we asked her to move in with us and she refused. We also took her to assisted living places and she refused to go there too.) She did not make it to Kroger’s. Instead she went to the hospital. They called me. Wow, were they happy to locate me.
She went from the hospital, to the rehab place, to Avalon Quarterway. She has been there since October 2013. Thanks to months of gathering documentation, hiring a couple of experts, filling out the forms, filing those forms, following up, more documentation and a couple of interviews, and my father’s service in the Army Air Corp, she qualified for the VA benefit.
I still visit her regularly, not that she recognizes me, but I remember who she is. The staff, along with hospice care, knows I’m coming to see her and to check up on the facility and the staff. Yes, it is painful, but I remember my mom was there for me when my brother and I were helpless, and she attended my father’s needs while he was dying of cancer.
Not the happiest of stories––sorry! I recommend planning in advance and realizing that in time our memory and the ability to care for ourselves may pass. If it does happen, with a little luck and assistance, care may be available.
Securities are offered through Securities America Inc., member FINRA and SIPC, Advisor services offered through Securities America Advisors., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. John Checki, Jr. Representative. This is not a CPA Firm.
John Checki Jr. and his firm have been helping some of the nicest families in North Dallas, Richardson, Plano, and Frisco for about 30 years. They specialize in Baby Boomers Wealth Management and have a unique and complete Wealth Management Process. You can read the rest of their story on their website. (John’s proudest accomplishment is his family: Children, Grandchildren and Wife.) They love to travel, scuba dive, take pictures, study and attend family and church gatherings.