Aging at Home Will Be Harder With Medicaid Cuts

In 2012, Ti Randall of New York City, who has Alzheimer’s disease, had run out of savings. His Social Security and a veteran’s pension helped cover his basic living expenses. But it took Medicaid to provide Randall with other services he needed in order to remain at home.

“He needed companionship and assistance,” says Ann Burgunder, 69, his long-time partner and caregiver. Burgunder, meanwhile, wanted and needed to continue working.

Randall’s needs have since grown. Now, at 93, he must have help bathing, dressing, cooking and toileting. At this point, “he couldn’t be left alone at all,” says Burgunder, who works as a coordinator for New York University’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Family Support Program. Through Medicaid, Randall has the services of home-care aides 12 hours a day Monday through Friday and half the day on Saturday. Medicaid also pays for his incontinence supplies, which cost more than $300 a month.

Proposed cuts to Medicaid under the American Health Care Act passed by the House recently could change life for Randall and many others. Medicaid is not only an insurance program for low-income people. It’s a lifeline for older adults like Randall who need supportive services to stay at home. At-home services are a lifeline for Medicaid as well, which would otherwise be paying for more expensive care in an institutional setting.

– Next Avenue

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