Archive for July, 2010

Finding a Georgia Personal Care Home

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

{UPDATE 27 Sept. 2012 due to change in .gov website}

Go to

http://dch.georgia.gov/find-facility

and click on the link in the first paragraph that says “find facility.” From there you are taken to a Facility Location and Information Guide. 

Make your choices in the boxes and click “search at the page bottom.

 

Go to http://georgiahealthinfo.gov/cms/

Click on “Search For Care.”

A window pops up for you to select “Type of Facility.” Choose “Long Term Care.”

Enter your zip code or address. Then enter your choice of type of Long-Term Care, “Personal Care Home (Assisted Living).”

You will now see a map, and as you page down, a list of dozens (hopefully) of local PCH’s.

Now, I am not kidding you, this is where the work begins. If anyone knows of any shortcuts, please let us know. The only way to begin to find a suitable Personal Care Home for a mentally ill person is to telephone them one-by-one. Ask if they take residents of the age your loved one is. (Most take only elderly people.) It also helps to eliminate those that are female-only or male-only. Ask if they have an opening. If they answered the first two questions positively make a note to yourself to call them back every month or so to see if something opens up. If you call every home on the list and find no likely places, change the zip code search to a more distant one.

If you find a home that takes a young mentally ill person, go visit the home. Keep an open mind as you visit if you are really desperate to place your family member. None of these places are the “Holiday Inn” if you know what I mean.  The PCH’s that take a young mentally ill person are rare and the available slots fill quickly.

Let me mention one more method for finding a Personal Care Home. If your loved one has been hospitalized for mental illness (or maybe even if they haven’t been recently), ask the social workers at the hospital. This is how we found our first PCH. It was not an accredited or licensed home (or something like that) because it was relatively new and they were “working on” it. Anyway, they had empty beds and my son was actually fortunate enough to get a private room.

My son DS is now living at home again. Last year the Social Security Administration contacted us about a change in his benefits. They said he should be on SSDI instead of SSI. This was not something we could refuse. (Apparently this had something to do with a job he worked bagging groceries for two years.) What this meant was a little more money, but a loss of Medicaid (replaced with Medicare) which meant a loss of “SOURCE” funding which meant a loss of his personal care home. Fortunately things are working out okay at the present. He seems to be fairly stable in his mood and the “schizo” side of his illness; the drugs are managing things well enough or his illness has stabilized on its own. He is very grateful to be home. At first he was thanking me every day. Now he is down to telling me maybe once a month that home is so much better. Of course, this tweaks the guilt pangs in me, but I only need to remember how rough the first two years, and especially the first year of his illness was to calm those pangs. Now it is fine that he is home.

When I reflect back I feel that we were carried in the palm of God’s hand. I was stretched beyond what I thought my limits were many, many days, but there were so many little miracles that came through at the right time. I hope others too will find the little miracles they need to survive: there are no easy answers when it comes to mental illness.