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What to do with Grandma? Elderly Housing

December 27, 2012

Jane Brody ( l love her) wrote a recent article in the NY times (love it) about staying in your home as you age.  The link is here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/24/staying-independent-in-old-age-with-a-little-help/?src=me&ref=general

I have recently been trying to decide whether I should stay home with my kids.  Logistically it just makes the most sense, with three small kids that are starting to need more activities and guidance.  Whatever you want to say about the women’s movement, this is still a choice some women make.  The world is still set up to work best when someone is always available.  Someone works, someone stays home and cares for the kids, the house, and grandma.  School schedules are set up to work this way.  Banks schedules are set up to work this way.  Your kids illnesses are set up this way.  You and I might not like it, but the structure of the world has not changed since women left home. 

Finding elder care is a close parallel to finding child care.  Both are expensive, it’s hard to find good help in both cases, you’ll feel guilty no matter what in both cases, special accommodations to phyical surroundings have to be made in both cases, and someone has to be there, 24/7.  This person used to be mom (or daughter, or son). 

So mom (or daughter, or son) can’t or won’t fill this role.  Just like child care, elder care is going to have to evolve a little.  Most day care centers don’t open before 7 AM and won’t keep your kid for more than 8 hours and close at 5 and charge you by the minute if you are late.  How many people have jobs that can accommodate this?  What if you work 3-11? What if you work 6AM-2PM?  What if your kid is sick?  What if you get stuck on a conference call?  The same thing is true of elder care.  And in the case of elder care, there’s no day care at all really.  It’s either nursing home or 24hr help.  As the structure of the work day changes, options for help should also change.

And we haven’t even talked about the money.  All this care is extremely expensive.  Elderly people have to essentially bankrupt themselves in order to get services paid for.  And even though it’s expensive, the “help” are not well paid.  In-home health aides have one of the hardest, most physically demanding jobs out there.  Good ones are hard to find, and worth paying accordingly. 

Bloggers have the advantage of being able to snipe about what’s wrong without having to suggest ways to fix it. There is one thing I will say.  All of us will get old.  All of us.  It’s not optional, it’s not a surprise, you don’t get to jump over this part.  Plan now.  I don’t care how old you are, plan.  If being broke so medicaid will pay, thjat’s ok, that’s a plan, just be sure you know what you’re getting.  If you have oodles of money, good on you, you still better plan cuz you might live to 100.  Tell your family members, who will have to take care of you, what you want and how you plan to help them pay for it.  Do it now.  The government will not help you with this.  Plan.

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From → End-of-life Care

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