Care options for elderly parent in New York
April 13, 2019 8:15 PM   Subscribe

My elderly, chronically ill mother is a dual US/Australian citizen living in New York City where she has no family, and due to current health is unable to fly to Australia where she has family. I don't live in the US, nor am I a citizen, so cannot spend an extended period there helping her. What are the options for her in the US (including NY and other states)?

She lives in Manhattan, and I'd say her finances put her in the upper middle class bracket. She's been paying for in-home care (meal preparation, supervision while bathing, etc) for the past year, but this cannot continue forever. Each time she looks like recovering enough to fly back to Australia, she has another health setback. I'm looking for medium term options (up to 12 months) as well as long term options (12+ months).
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
One of my elderly neighbors offered a free room to someone in exchange for their help with meal preparation, etc. (I also live in an expensive city.) That might be a temporary option that could help her save money. If she is a citizen, could you become a citizen through her?
posted by pinochiette at 8:28 PM on April 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would start here.

Unfortunately, up until the point she's spent down her assets and is eligible for Medicaid, she's unlikely to find residential care that's cheaper than in-home care + assistance.

For the long term, I would be looking into starting the green-card process for adult children. I'm not an expert in this, but, once she's filed the initial form, I believe you can file for a temporary visa that will allow you to reside in the U.S. for up to 2 years.

Honestly, assuming she has good affordable care options back in Australia and is really struggling here, I'd be looking into the possibility of chartering a medical flight or arranging a medical escort (e.g.) if she might be able to handle a flight in business or first class. It would be $$$$$ for sure, but, given the wretched options in the U.S., in the long run it might actually save money; and, more importantly, it wouldn't leave your ill mother stuck alone medium- to long-term in a strange and frankly rather inhospitable country.
posted by praemunire at 10:15 PM on April 13, 2019 [17 favorites]

I might be able to help you navigate this terrain. Feel free to send me a memail.
posted by 6thsense at 3:40 AM on April 14, 2019

It is possible to fly with complex medical conditions, including needing oxygen, though the costs are high.

I have heard of hospitals arranging this for people if conditions are right (cost of continued care astronomical, no passport issues, possible reimbursement through home countries insurance, though I've seen it more for uninsured in the states (did not qualify for medicaid or medicare) with the above. So it isn't impossible but it isn't something that is advertised. It's more that litterally the hospital paying for the flight to outsourse long term care is cheaper than continuing to provide services and this is a solution to that problem.

You may want to call the Australian embassy in NYC to see if they know someone with experience cooridating this type of flight and may have ways of getting flight costs covered by any medical coverage she may qualify for in Australia .
posted by AlexiaSky at 9:32 AM on April 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

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