Hospice offers so many options and opportunities to families. This Associated Press article appeared in today’s Washington Post (10-16-2012). It is worth reading.
Adult children who help aging parents should check out the Washington Post article At End of Life, Medicare Beneficiaries Spend Thousands Out-of-Pocket. Reporter Sarah Kliff explains that a recent study, Out of Pocket Spending in the Last Five Years of Life (abstract), published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, examined the amount of money that aging Medicare recipients spend on health care during the last five years of life. The abstract leads to the first two pages of the study, freely available.
According to the Post article, “The average Medicare beneficiary spent $38,688 out-of-pocket during the last five years of life.” This is in addition to the portion that Medicare covers. The Post article also features two excellent charts.
Researchers studied people who died between 2002 and 2008 using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), based at the University of Michigan. HRS is a large nationally representative study funded launched in 1992 and funded by the National Institute on Aging.
When my mom picked up A Daughter’s Long Goodbye: Caring for Mother at the church library, she brought it home and quickly read it cover to cover. Then she suggested that I read it — well actually she instructed me to do so.
Caring for Mother, written in 2007, is not easy reading. Virginia Stem Owens describes seven long years of different types of caregiving — and her mother’s suffering — sharing observations and descriptions of decline, hallucinations, distant medical personnel, and an aging father with his own suffering and medical problems.
Often she writes with a touch of irony, but never with self-pity. Owen’s mother, suffers from Parkinson’s which leads to dementia. Eventually care at home is no longer possible, and her mother spends years in a nursing home. Every bit of it is still relevant today, more than five years after the book’s publication.
Here’s what my mother wrote to me after I finished Owens’ book.
This book traces the experience of an aging adult daughter who describes seven years of caregiving, watching mother slip into deeper and deeper dementia. The daughter’s deeper understanding develops in the process of caregiving. Read more »
If you missed the Michel Martin’s Tell Me More on Monday, January 23, 2012, head over to the program’s website to hear Jane Gross talk about her book, A Bittersweet Season: Caring For Our Aging Parents and Ourselves. Her conversation covered a broad range of aging parent-adult child topics including Medicare, financial problems, end-of life issues, unexpected aging parent needs, and the need for caregivers to take better care of themselves.
Most Interesting Quote:
… I thought as a reporter I was capable of finding out everything I needed to know. I didn’t realize that the systems were so complicated, that they were coupled with the sort of emotional baggage of it being your mother and your brother, that you couldn’t just pick up the phone the way you did when you were a reporter and get an answer.