Medical bills continue to drive elderly Texans to find help

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN is partnering with local nonprofit Family Eldercare as part of our yearly community service project. 

Part of that is putting the spotlight challenges that elderly and vulnerable Texans face every day here in Austin.

That’s what introduced us to Jeff Conte. 

Growing up, he loved the movies. His family was key in creating actors’ unions in Hollywood. He became an electrical engineer. Then came a headache in 2013.

“I couldn’t talk. I didn’t even know what that was or this was. I could not talk to you. I didn’t know the words. Any of it,” said Conte.

That headache was a blood clot that led to a traumatic brain injury and hundreds of surgeries. Medical bills stacked up and cleaned him out. 

“I don’t understand well. I would get scared,” said Conte.

With no relatives, he turned to Family Eldercare. His caseworker Elana Carter helps him manage money: including collecting social security, paying his bills, signing legal documents, taking medication and getting health care through Medicaid and Medicare.

“I probably would be out in the street. My money was gone. I wouldn’t have a place to live. I wouldn’t have understood that,” said Conte.

She even helps pay for what he loves, taking in movies down the street at Alamo Drafthouse.

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