With Hubby's illness and the mounting medical bills, there's been a lot of stress in my life. That stress has cost me a long term client, the 93 year old lady that I've been visiting twice a week since 2007. I don't miss her.
She is in a program the state of New York offers to higher income elderly. They have to pay a portion of the bill themselves. The amount depends on how much their income is. It's available only to the elderly who don't qualify for Medicaid, and they may be asked to pay as much as half the bill. This program doesn't qualify the recipient for services like transportation to and from doctors. The aides servicing these cases are allowed to shop only once a month for these clients unless there is no family. Also, since the services rendered to these clients are considered to be largely personal care, chores like taking trash to the curb are the responsibility of the family. Which is where we ran into trouble on this case.
Her trash pick up was happening 15 minutes after I arrived on Mondays so I was taking care of it. Our office replaced my earlier client with one that required longer travel time so I was getting there 10 minutes later than normal which was approved by both client and her family. Then her hauler changed the pick up time for her trash collection and unfortunately it was a full hour before I would get there. I spoke to the client about that change which at the age of 93 went in one ear and out the other so I had our office call the family and explain. She did that, I was there in the office when she called.
Three weeks later when the trash was overflowing in the garage, she asked me why. I reminded her that I don't get there in time to put out her trash and before I could say because her hauler changed the time she exploded. "How DARE you take my time away from me!" As if it's my fault the office gave me a different case. Nothing I said pierced the rage so I went to the office and wrote out a grievance as I'm supposed to. Office called the family who weren't overly helpful. Like a 93 year old woman is capable of carrying the trash out on Monday, let alone if she remembers what day it is. Family is too busy to take care of it even though they drive right by her house on their way to work. Yeah, it really is that hard for them.
They gave the client a new aide and the family was notified that taking the trash to the curb isn't one of our duties. I also notified the office that I wouldn't take any more cases from that particular program. I would prefer the lower income moochers I keep hearing about from the families of the people in this program. They and their families are grateful for what services they receive. Not so the more affluent clients families. They have an over developed sense of entitlement.
I really hadn't thought much about it until this morning while reading the doom and gloom from those Conservatives who are rather rageful that their Boy Romney lost. After the 19th or so time I read a statement along the lines of Obama supporters voting for "that free stuff", I started thinking about the 30 or so clients I have serviced in the past 5 years and the other situations I am aware of with other aide's clients.
Even though these program clients pay for a portion of their services, they still benefit from a partial payment through a state grant. When they don't get a service, they're very vocal about those who do without any acknowledgement of the fact that their monthly income is twice that of the Medicaid clients in the other program.
My stress level is at Defcon 5 over things like:
The 93 year old with the trash problem plus the time her daughter canceled taking her to a doctor's appointment so she could take her dog to the vet.
The 80 year old who got diaper rash because her family couldn't find the time to stop and get her Depends so she ran out of them and couldn't change her undergarment. She reused the same one for 3 days until my day to go there and I went to buy them. Out of my own money because her family hadn't dropped off any cash for me to shop with. Elder abuse task force placed her in a nursing home. Charged her son with neglect.
The 71 year old whose laundry I couldn't do for close to a month because her family couldn't understand that they needed to pick her up and take her to the bank so that she could withdraw the money needed for the machines in her building. A building that limits the use of laundry machines to 2 per tenant at a time. A month's worth of laundry won't fit 2 machines. I'm only there 2 hours a week. Mom failed inspection. Guess who family tried to blame? That failed because our office had placed numerous calls to family explaining that money was needed for laundry.
The 86 year old who had to drive himself to and from the eye doctor and he had to have his eyes dilated at that appointment. When the doctor found out he didn't have transportation, they kept him there for 4 hours until he could see. When the daughter finally panicked because she couldn't find her Dad, all we heard was how "all those welfare bums get rides, why can't her Dad?"
Got a hot flash for her, not all those "welfare bums" get transported. Only those without families locally do. Funny, those families are mostly low income and they manage to take time off to transport Mom or Dad to the doctors. We've never gotten calls from those low income families wondering why we didn't move the furniture to vacuum (not allowed by the state) or why we don't remove all the knick-knacks when we dust (not allowed by the state). They just go and visit and help take care of these things themselves.
The grief we get from the families and in some cases the clients who can afford to pay for services is tied up in their sense that they are entitled to free things simply because the families are too busy, or unwilling to help. In all but one of my cases from that program the clients and their families are Conservatives. The one client from that program that I still have doesn't have that sense of entitlement plus has assistance with whatever she needs from her daughter and son-in-law. They are Liberals. She never complains that anyone gets more assistance than she does, plus she donates as often as possible to our local Rescue Mission and to the Salvation Army. So people less fortunate than she can be helped. Something my Conservative former clients and families don't do because..."Moochers get enough free stuff".