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By pickles On 2013.10.06 23:51
Please forgive my generic plea for information (I feel like I'm cheating on my homework) but I am beside myself trying to figure this stuff out. I've spent the last 3 nights looking up various state and federal services for hours only to have a few bookmarks and a shrinking understanding of who is responsible for what. (And I am normally the one to rock the research.) If you know any answers or leads or any tips to my questions below I would be most grateful.

Background: My mother in law came to live with us this summer in California and as her Parkinson's is now progressing I am trying to figure out the answers to the following questions.

1. When I'm picking her up from a Dr's appointment can I use her handicap hang-tag to park in the handicap spot and go in and get her?

2. We need to purchase bathroom handrails, toilet grips and possibly a transfer bench. I am currently under the impression that this is basically a prescription for medical equipment and medicare or her supplemental would pay for it. I am totally confused by my location falling within a "competitive bid" area. I also for the life of me can't figure out what category these items fall into. This is the page I keep dead ending at: But above all I just don't know if I start with the supplier or the doctor or medicare.

3. I found a transit service that will transport my mother in law but on some rare days she forgets how to use elevators or find the right door. This service along with the others I found are "curb to curb" and if she needs more help they said she'd need a personal care attendant. I am at a loss as to how to arrange for one. Is this a medicare or supplemental insurance thing or is this someone i need to hire?

4. Perhaps 3&4 are related but we need to find someone to come into the home and assist her with some exercise, laundry, lunches when I am not home and eventually care of a more personal nature but we aren't quite there yet. I know in California there is in home health services but is that the same thing as a personal care attendant?

5. Financially we are treating my mother in law as a sort of roommate where she pays the difference in rent after we moved from a 2 bedroom into a 3 bedroom. She, being the 4th person pays a flat rate equivalent to a quarter average of our utilities and grocery and household goods like trash bags, detergent, etc. She does not pay for any auto insurance, gas or repairs. She gives us a check at the beginning of the month and we pay all the bills. Our thinking is that we pay what we did prior to her moving in and she pays her difference ... but as far as our "household" number I am at a loss. I make meals, clean, run errands, take her to the doctor ... not like a roommate would. She keeps her money separate and pays her own health insurance and credit card bills. She owns a house with someone in another state so I'm kind of scratching my head over this one. She can't be considered part of our household, can she?

If anyone has even a partial answer to any of these questions I would be most grateful.


By LOHENGR1N On 2013.10.07 00:59
Pickles, I'd try asking the Doctor or Their staff if the handrails etc are covered with a prescription (I'm in Massachusetts and they are here if the Doctor writes one.)

The Handicap tag here also can be used to park and pickup as long as the person it is for is using the car by that I mean you are bringing them shopping and to Doctors they are riding in it that's what it is for. With the tag it transfers from car to car that the handicap person is in.

The PCA I don't know the plans out there that cover paying them. But it can't hurt to call the Home Health people and ask them. If they don't do that kind of help they should be able to put you in contact with those who do.

That's about all I can think of right now hope it helps some. Take care, best of luck and hang in there

By lurkingforacure On 2013.10.07 08:23

On the first couple items, one of my family members took in an older family member, and had to install handrails in the bathroom, an ADA height toilet, a pedestal sink...the items and installation were paid for but I can't remember by whom. Ask the geriatric doctor, who should be pretty familiar with this. I would also call the city and the county you live in, to see if they would cover it (if they do, they would probably seek reimb. from medicare).

As for the dependent status, ask your CPA! I would think there are some deductions/credits you can get for taking in your family member, because you are not legally obligated to, and your doing so is saving the govt. money. If he doesn't know, find a tax person who does. Then let us know what he or she says, I am curious now about this myself!

By jcoff012 On 2013.10.07 11:22
Pickles, here in California, the handicapped placard goes with the person. By that I mean, you are permitted to transport, pick up, take the person to appointments, etc. the person, but are not allowed to use the placard for your own personal use. The placard goes in whatever vehicle you need to use, too. Hope that helps...try your state's DMV should list the "rules" of use, ours does.

By carman96 On 2013.10.07 19:04
Call your area agency on aging. They have a lot of information on senior services. I will get 8 hours of respite this month for free. When I signed up for this service they sent me a lot of info on other services. I think it is a federal program so not sure if they are affected by the government shutdown.
I had handrails put in by a friend so not sure if medi-care pays but the rails are at least $20 each and we have ten so it adds up,especially if you pay someone to put them in.
Hope you get them paid for, let us know what happens.

By pickles On 2013.10.09 01:00
Thanks guys. Your support is truly all I have right now. Thank you. I will follow up with any info I learn from your leads.

I didn't think about the shutdown from my little bubble. Not being able to find some of this info is beginning to make more sense now.

Will update with more info as I get it. In the meantime if anyone else wants to chime in with any advice or direction it is most appreciated.


By parkinit On 2013.10.13 22:26
I've found on some web sites you will find "ask about products being covered by insurance." This was for catheter products. They take care of contacting the doctor (they always need prescriptions for medicare-covered items, it appears), filling out the paperwork and submitting it on our behalf. We had to fill out a few pages of paperwork, but this is for a product that we will be ordering on a monthly basis.

The National Council on Aging may be a helpful web site to you:

I found this for you, specifically, since you are in CA:

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