Attorneys in Life Care Planning Law Firms aren’t the only ones who have dramatic elder care stories. Other members of a Life Care Planning team usually have them, too.
Hannah Robinson is no exception. As a public benefits specialist at the Flammia Elder Law Firm, a Life Care Planning Law Firm in Winter Park, Florida, Hannah guides elderly clients and their families through the process of accessing public benefits such as Medicaid and VA Pension to pay for long-term care. She has been with the firm since 2014.
Hannah has a special affinity for older adults, especially those in caregiving roles. “The whole time I was growing up, I watched my grandfather provide care for my grandmother,” recalls Hannah, who lived in Illinois with her grandparents during her first six years of life. “Grandpa was always busy. He took wonderful care of Grandma.”
Hannah’s elder care journey began suddenly and without warning in 2018 when she got the phone call no one wants to get. Her grandfather had had a stroke. Hannah was now in the position familiar to so many of her clients. Decisions needed to be made and care needed to be arranged—all from 1,000 miles away. “I took off of work, flew home, and figured it all out in a week,” she recalls.
It wasn’t easy. Like so many couples of that generation, Hannah’s grandfather managed the family finances. Her grandmother didn’t have access to the paperwork and other information Hannah needed. “Grandma didn't know where anything was and Grandpa couldn’t communicate because of his stroke, so I spent a full 24 hours digging through drawers and closets to find what I was looking for,” remembers Hannah. “I eventually found Grandpa’s Social Security card in a sock drawer underneath a Bible.”
Locating key accounts and documents was just the beginning. Hannah already had power of attorney for both of her grandparents, so she got to work. While her grandfather was undergoing rehabilitation after his stoke, Hannah was able to find long-term care for her grandmother. “I taught myself Illinois Medicaid and got my grandmother Medicaid approved in a nursing home,” remembers Hannah. “I was then able to get my grandfather approved for Medicaid and moved into the same nursing home with my grandmother. Once Grandpa was strong enough to leave the nursing home, I helped them transition back home. I also found in-home care for them and arranged for Medicaid to pay for that.”
Hannah continued to walk alongside her grandparents after the acute emergency had passed. “It was hard for Grandpa to adjust to his new reality because he had always been one of those men who never sat down,” Hannah remembers. “He was always going, always working on a project. When he was in the nursing home, he would look at me and say, ‘I want to go home. I want to be in my garage."
Though her grandparents’ health crisis and her grandfather’s resulting depression were challenging, Hannah looks back on it with a sense of satisfaction and gratitude. “It was really difficult and draining, but we got through it,” Hannah admits. “It was a great learning experience, especially for the work I do with Flammia Elder Law clients. Helping my own family members through a care crisis has helped me relate to my clients on such a deeper level. I am very grateful for that.”