It wasn’t supposed to happen to us
My husband, John, had been a successful practitioner. Married for over 40 years, we raised our two sons in a lovely neighborhood in Texas. We enjoyed a good life together and looked forward to his retirement. Nothing fancy. We intended to visit our grandchildren and cherish the pleasure of each other’s company in our twilight years. Then I received a call from a deputy with the sheriff’s office.
“I just don’t know what we would have done without Medicaid.” John had gotten lost while driving home. Leading up to that day, there had been signs. He was experiencing forgetfulness. Words escaped him. He occasionally struggled with simple tasks. I thought it was stress. But a visit to his doctor confirmed my deepest fears. As his dementia worsened, I tried to care for him by myself. I took a job at a nearby dress shop to help with money. His confusion grew overwhelming, his nights spent in a state of agitation, or “sundowning,” something I learned was common among people with dementia. He couldn’t sleep. Medical paperwork filled the binders on my kitchen table and occupied my thoughts as I lay awake, listening to him wander through the house. Within a short span of time, our resources and my hopes were spent. I had to apply for Medicaid.
Before John’s illness, I didn’t know that Medicare does not cover long-term care and that many facilities don’t want to take Medicaid. It was a challenge but, with my sons’ help, we found a skilled nursing facility close to our home that was designed to keep patients like my husband comfortable and safe. I visited every day. When John passed away in 2013, my family and I were very grateful for the quality care he’d received. I just don’t know what we would have done without Medicaid.