My MIL "Grammy, me, my mom

In our lives we have many milestones;  getting your first driver’s license, high school graduation, weddings, birth of babies, etc.   As you reach your twilight years of aging, however, the milestones are not nearly as fun.

You may have to give in to taking multitudes of medicines, give up mobility and start using a cane or even a walker,  give up the car keys, perhaps give in to incontinence.  AND…sometimes you have to admit that you’re not able to go “out” any more and you can be officially declared “home bound”. Turns out that last one is VERY emotionally-wrought, as it truly signifies the end of a lifestyle…

That’s where we are with the in-laws.  We realized that Grampy really wasn’t capable of driving any more (after a few fender-bender incidents/lack of response time and another incident of leaving the car running in the driveway (thank God, not the garage!) for some 9+ hours one afternoon), and really wasn’t mobile enough to make it desirable for him to go shopping or even out to eat very often.

In fact, that’s pretty much what Medicare says when they define “homebound” (from

A doctor must certify that you’re homebound.  To be homebound means the following:

  • Leaving your home isn’t recommended because of your condition.
  • Your condition keeps you from leaving home without help (such as using a wheelchair or walker, needing special transportation, or getting help from another person).
  • Leaving home takes a considerable and taxing effort.

A person may leave home for medical treatment or short, infrequent absences for non-medical reasons, such as attending religious services. You can still get home health care if you attend adult day care, but you would get the home care services in your home.

So our first step upon the realization that he was “homebound” (she is not, tho her lack of driving pretty much keeps her at home as well, much to her chagrin) was to call in a home health care agency.  We found one by searching online (Indianapolis senior services), and requested that they come out and do an assessment for us; what the in-laws might need and what could be provided by Medicare.  Here’s what has quickly transpired since that initial visit:

  1. Grampy’s doctor filed the proper paperwork, declaring him “homebound” so Medicare assistance can kick in.
  2. He now has a home health aide come to our home 3x per week to bathe him;  this had been a major problem for us as he is a large man and we do NOT have an accessible bathtub/shower;  he had a very difficult time lifting his legs over the edge of the tub and we were very concerned of potential accidents.
  3. A physical therapist comes to the house 3x a week for him, as well;  this will continue for approx. 9 weeks, then a reassessment must be done and doctor must determine whether he is still “improving” (“It’s expected that your condition will improve in a reasonable and generally-predictable period of time.” says Medicare).  I.E.  Medicare will NOT pay for this indefinitely.
  4. An occupational therapist also comes to the house weekly to assist with arm exercises and help him learn safer ways to do commonplace things like in and out of a chair, etc.
  5. We’ve had a visit fr0m a social worker, who has done some research for us on Veterans benefits (He served on a ship during WWII). When Medicare stops, Veterans benefits will often fill in…including dollars for nursing homes!

So, life has changed dramatically AGAIN in the past month.  They (he is) are getting the care they need, some social interaction during the day, as well as someone checking in on them while hubz and I are each 30 minutes away at work. It has relieved a lot of Grammy’s stress, and we feel it is a good thing for all.