As I write this, I’m on hold with the Alliance for Aging. This private, non-profit agency assists Elders in qualifying for Medicaid and other benefits. This was my third attempt at reaching them by phone. I’d also tried to fax them and used their website to explain my client’s dilemma. Throughout the hold, I hear messages stating that the quickest way to get results is to go to their website and “blah, blah, blah.” I ask myself … if I’m an Elder trying to qualify for Medicaid, what are the chances that I will:
- Have a computer?
- Know how to locate their website?
- Understand how to navigate the website when I get there?
Once I talked to a human, she was helpful, but all she did was look up my client’s files and inform me that I’d receive another call to schedule the assessment. This scenario reminds me of trying to schedule a COVID vaccine in early 2021 by continually calling until you got through! However, the inconvenience of dealing with Elder support agencies is an everyday occurrence.
Please Hold, Your Call is Important to Us
How many times have we heard this phrase? When trying to solve problems or get information for ourselves or an aging loved one, the time and effort to find answers is a significant barrier. Again, I ask – why do we treat our elders this way? I remind you, Elders calling about Medicaid often do not have the means to hire attorneys for help. Many live on incomes below the poverty level and, if they need Medicaid, are ill. This treatment is caused by systemic breakdowns in healthcare and government programs. Calls for help are mostly ignored by underpaid staff unable to adequately find what we desperately need.
Elders Feel Invisible
I was at a luncheon for Niki Fried, the Commissioner of Agriculture. In her speech, she discussed her accomplishments and goals, several of which pertained to food insecurity in children. When schools closed in the state of Florida, Niki’s office still made sure there was breakfast and lunch for the underserved kids. She worked to implement programs to irradicate food deserts in urban areas —worthy endeavors.
During the Q & A, I asked why she didn’t mention the food insecurity in the Elder population. I also reminded her that Elders voted her into office! The entire room broke out in applause. To Niki’s credit, she owned her omission and thanked me for pointing it out. But this proves how easily and often the Elder community is forgotten. As I looked around that room, many attendees were over 65.
Even worse, the Elders left out of this equation are living on the brink. They’ve raised their families and, in many cases, their grandchildren. Now, they struggle for basic services like healthcare.
The oxymoron is that the over sixty crowd makes up the majority of voters in Florida and across the country. Each time a candidate is voted into office, they somehow relegate this same crowd to the back burner. We have a Children’s Trust in Miami to help improve the lives of children. Why don’t we have an Elder’s Trust? Why don’t underserved communities have more access to Mobile Medical Buses throughout the US? There may be other countries who treat their Elders as shabbily as we do, but one doesn’t come to mind. It is time to change the culture.
I Want to Help
For those who care for aging family members, imagine what could happen to them without your love and support. If you or someone you know is in need, please reach out to me at Parent Your Parents in Miami, Florida. I truly understand how hard it is to find the right resources for urgent needs. I may already have the articles, video, and information you are currently looking for, and am happy to share them with you. Whether you live in Florida or not, I am an Elder advocate who helps point you in the right direction. Contact me, Frances Reaves, for a free consultation and elder law support for multiple Elder concerns all in one place. If you prefer, you can call 786-418-3303 or email me at email@example.com.