Q: My brother, the caretaker for my 99-year-old mother, told me she was eligible for Medicare‘s hospice benefit. I thought Medicare did not pay for “custodial” care. Where can I get more information?
A: Medicare does not pay for custodial care. But hospice care is much different from custodial care and is covered under Medicare Part A.
To qualify for hospice benefits, patients must have their doctors certify they have a terminal illness and are expected to live six months or less if the illness proceeds as normal.
Hospice care coverage includes drugs for pain relief and symptom management and medical, nursing, social-services and grief counseling.
Hospice care can be received in the patient’s home or other living accommodations such as an assisted-care or skilled- nursing facility. Hospice coverage for care received in a facility excludes the cost of room and board. Hospice services must be provided by a Medicare-approved agency.
Custodial care does not require the services of trained medical personnel or therapists and does not have to be provided by a Medicare-approved agency. Home aides or family members can perform it.
A custodial-care patient usually requires standby supervision or assistance with normal daily living activities such as bathing, using the toilet, dressing, eating and transferring to and from a bed and chair.
To start a discussion about hospice services and find out if they would be appropriate, contact the patient’s primary physician.
Q: I am starting to plan for possible retirement but am not sure where to begin. Is anything helpful on the horizon?
A: “I Can’t Get Old … I Can’t Afford It” is a panel presentation from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 12 at Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.
The panel will discuss the cost of care and community services and provide information on financial planning, health care costs and coverage, and housing and real estate advice.
The presentation is free. Light refreshments will be provided. For reservations, call 381-2744.
Q: Are there ever any seminars about grandparenting?
A: Kaiser Senior Advantage is sponsoring a seminar from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 19 at the Goebel Senior Adult Center. To make reservation call 800-600-4182 or 381-2744.
Through April 15: Thousand Oaks Council on Aging Senior of the Year application process has been extended. Applications are available at the Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.
Tuesday: “Balancing Family, Work and Caregiving.” 4 to 5:30 p.m.,Senior Concerns Day Center, 401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks. For reservations call 497-0189.
April 11: “Aging in Place/Home Modification,” 1:30 to 3 p.m., Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive. For information 495-6250.
April 15: Community Garage Sale, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Goebel Senior Adult Center. More than 30 garage sales at one location. For information call 381-2744.