(2013) Jimmy and Barbara Bell have been married 54 years and were living in their dream retirement home near Lake Bistineau complete with acres of pasture land for their cattle and a pond stocked with White Perch for Mrs. Barbara when tragedy struck in the form of a stroke while they were readying to attend Sunday school at United Pentecostal Church in Minden.
Their lives were changed that fast. Barbara had surgery which resulted in complications necessitating a long hospital stay but Medicare limits the number of days she was allowed to be in the hospital so Jimmy had to check her into a nursing home that was costing thousands per month.
“I’m 80 years old, and I’ve worked for 60 years,” said Jimmy. “We’re not party people. We’ve been conservative and tried to save for our old age. Our home was paid for, and we’ve been careful to provide for ourselves, but at that amount per month, I knew that in a short while, all our savings would be gone. I was a desperate man when somebody gave me a card and a brochure from SAFE Planning and told me to call them.”
“I was very skeptical. I knew I couldn’t get Medicaid,” he relates. “It (the brochure) sounded too good to be true, but because I was desperate, I went to see them. I was still skeptical after talking to Ric and Sharon. I couldn’t do it (Medicaid process) on my own though. It is bad that our government forces a man to go to such lengths to keep what he has spent his life saving. But I knew it would be better to save some of my money rather than lose it all so I did what they (Sharon and Ric) told me to do, and everything they told me is just what happened. I thank God we found somebody who could help us, and who knew how to deal with Medicaid. What they do at SAFE Planning is just like a ministry!”
“I just feel so much gratitude to Mrs. Sharon and the way she did everything for me so that I don’t even have to deal with Medicaid! It was hard to write that check to them, but it has been well worth it for all that they were able to save for me and, anything I can do for them, I will do it. I tell people all the time that theirs is a ministry that even my church couldn’t do for me, and I’m just happy that there are people like them who have the know-how to do what they do.”
Jimmy is so appreciative of what Ric and Sharon did on his and Barbara’s behalf that he has even volunteered to speak at some of the SAFE Planning meetings to tell people how they have helped him. “Because without them doing what they did for me, I wouldn’t have the gas money to get there,” he says.
He also credits Blake with helping him get over his initial fears of letting them have access to all his financial affairs. “Blake is very down-to-earth, and he helped calm my fears and skepticism of letting them in my business that I’d always taken care of myself,” says Jimmy. “But now I feel like what they do is a ministry to people like us who have no way to deal with the government and Medicaid while saving anything for ourselves. And, if I don’t live another year, I want to know Barbara is taken care of, and thanks to them I have some peace of mind.”
(Jimmy and Barbara Bell have both passed since I interviewed and wrote this testimonial article, but we remember them fondly and are happy to have counted them among our client-friends)