Burlington County Times article highlights CareOne at Evesham residents
By Peg Quann Staff writer | Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2014 12:30 am
Joe Paliotta sits in his wheelchair at the Care One at Evesham assisted-living community and waits for her. When his little lady appears, a smile lights up his face.
It happens every day, week in and week out.
“He’s not happy unless I’m with him,” said Rose, his wife of 65 years. “I’m thankful I still got him and we’re both still alive.”
When Joe, who’s 87, had a stroke in 2010, the couple were forced to split their living arrangements. He is cared for in the long-term care unit while Rose, 88, continues to live in the assisted-living unit at Care One.
The arrangement has worked out. He receives the constant care he needs, while she’s nearby and can walk over to visit him every day.
Their daughter and son consider themselves lucky to have their parents receiving the services they need in one place.
“For my brother and me, it’s a relief knowing they have very good care. We’re thrilled they’re still together,” said their daughter, Roxann Navarra of Somers Point, Cape May County.
Despite disabilities that include a significant problem with speaking, her father is cognizant, Navarra said. “He knows everything that’s going on.”
Illness or disability that forces a couple to live separately can create anxiety for them and hardships for their children and other family members who must devote extra travel time and expenses to visit and care for their parents in two locations, all while caring for their own families and, for most people, working outside their homes.
Moving to a retirement community that offers different levels of care allows a couple to maintain their relationship while receiving the individualized assistance they need. And it makes it easier for family members to visit.
But it’s not cheap. Medicare does cover most long-term care costs but Medicaid usually doesn’t cover all the costs associated with a retirement community.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, Long-termcare.gov, the average cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home is $6,235 a month; the cost for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted-living facility is $3,239. To care for a person at home, a home-health aide costs approximately $21 an hour; adult daycare costs average $67 a day.
“While some people may qualify for a public program, most people use a variety of options, including long-term care insurance, personal income, savings, life insurance, annuities and reverse mortgage” to pay for care, the federal website stated.
Karl Schmid, 88, maintains his home in Holiday Village, Mount Laurel, but visits his wife, Shirley, 89, who resides at Care One in the long-term care unit. He visits almost daily. “Every day that I can,” he said.
Shirley, who has dementia, has lived at Care One since November 2009. He describes her as an 8-month-old in an 89-year-old body.
“I couldn’t take care of her at home,” he said, putting his arm around his wife as she sat, curled up, in a special chair. She needs to be fed, bathed and dressed.
“I think she’s aware. When he touches her arm, she’ll look at him and give him a smile,” said their daughter, Marilyn Dunham of Mount Laurel.
Betty Preston said she and her late husband, Dr. Edward Preston, moved to Medford Leas in 2000. The retired Moorestown pediatrician went into the nursing unit in 2005.
“I found it was very workable,” she said. “It was devastating when I realized this was the way it was going to be. He had a neurological disease that was only going to get worse. He needed help with dressing and navigating — more than I could handle.”
Preston said it took her two minutes to drive from her Medford Leas apartment to his nursing unit. “I went every day. I ate my lunch with him … I would bring my dinner with me. I would stay and eat with him and participate in programs with him. There were times I ate with friends. I found I managed. It was something I had to accept.”
While she said she thought about moving closer, she decided against it because she realized his condition was only going to get worse.
“I liked where I was living so I didn’t move,” Preston said. “More than once, I thanked my stars that we were here at Medford Leas. I could go away for a weekend. I knew he was in good hands. I felt comfortable leaving him.”
The community offers support for caregivers like herself — and for widows and widowers left behind when their spouses pass. “It was helpful to know others around me had gone through the same thing,” she said.
For Karl Schmid, having daughter Marilyn close by to assist him in caring for his wife has eased the burden. Even though he continues to live in his own home in an age-restricted community, his daughter helps him get to his doctor appointments and supports him while she also finds time to visit her mom.
On a recent Thursday, she came with her own grandson, a toddler named J.C.
“She’s my right-hand person,” Karl Schmid said about Marilyn.
“I’m helping my Dad,” Dunham replied, watching him as he hugged his disabled wife. “This is his life.”