The View from Inside an Assisted Living Community

assisted living blogWe hear a lot about assisted living communities these days. If we need to learn more, we check out glossy brochures that describe each place in considerable and colorful detail. Sometimes we visit the community for a meal or to participate in a special event.

What we don’t see when we help a family member consider whether or not to move into an assisted living residence are the small details — the daily interactions of various personalities, the stories of individual community residents, and the ongoing narrative or body politic of daily life.

On her blog, Assisted Living: An Insider’s View, Carol Netzer, a four-year resident of an assisted living community, shares stories, experiences, and observations. A psychologist by training, Netzer possesses a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling. Each post describes a situation, a person, or an event, providing readers with a window through which to observe the successes and challenges of the day-to-day assisted living experience.

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Watch Out for Unexpected Recurring Charges on a Parent’s Credit Card

Over dinner at my parents’ house recently my mother commented that a recurring charge appeared on her Mastercard statement every month for at least a year.

Read this Seattle Times March 2012 Article

Read this Seattle Times March 2012 article.

“I have no idea what it is,” she said. She had been checking her bills and was unsure about what to do.

I looked at the bill and sure enough, on the second of the month during all of 2013 mother was charged $9.95. When I did a bit more research, I found that the company charging the fee presents as a savings club, offering discount opportunities.

I’ve listed some of them below.

  • Quarterly grocery rebates
  • 20% savings on grocery gift cards from trusted vendors
  • Pre-paid debit cards for trade-ins
  • Discounts on auto maintenance at a variety of car repair franchises
  • Up to $250 reimbursement on the deductible on your homeowners or renters insurance when an insured loss occurs.

Trouble is, the person who sold my mother this “membership” when she was buying a blouse at a well-known mid-range national department store, did so without telling my mother what she was really purchasing. My mother thought she was getting a $10 discount on the sale and on subsequent purchases at the store.                       Continue reading

Aging Parent Hospitalizations and Observation Status

Just when you think that you have settled the most significant adult child-aging parent issues — when you and your parents have spoken about medical care support, finances, and the range of their end-of-life wishes — along comes another concern to worry about, and it’s one that may be completely out of our control.

Medicare ObservationWe now need to be concerned about the possibility of a parent entering a hospital and assigned to observation status for several days. Observation means that, rather than being officially admitted as a patient, the person is there to be watched, sort of like an out-patient, but not really an out-patient. The problem is, it’s difficult to discover what status a hospital assigns a patient  — the two look almost alike with nurses, doctors, hospital rooms, blood pressure checks, etc.  Admission and observation do not look that different to the patient and family, and apparently many hospitals are not especially  forthcoming with the information.

Why is patient status significant? It’s simple, really. If your parent needs to enter a skilled nursing facility or nursing home after three days of observation status, Medicare will not pay and the family will be required to pay all of the bills, including the hospital costs. For Medicare to pay the bills, a family member must be admitted as a patient for at least three days and not assigned observation status.

Over the past year newspapers and medical or health journals have carried stories about elders and observation, and I share them here so that you can learn as much as you can.

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Some Retirees Are Starting Businesses

Those of us edging closer to retirement may be in for some surprises. We may discover that  some of our friends and colleagues are thinking less about taking it easy in their later years and more about  using the time to start a business.

starting businessesA Bloomberg Personal Finance article, Older Americans Shun Retirement at 65 for Risky Startups, by Steve Matthews, describes how many boomers are opting to become entrepreneurs, turning their ideas into companies, and working hard to make their business grow. Quoting from a report by the Kauffman Foundation Matthews notes that, “People from 55 to 64 started 23.4 percent of the [new] companies in 2012.” The Kauffman Foundation offers support and information to people who are seeking become more independent by educational achievement and entrepreneurial activities. (Kauffman mission).

Most Interesting Information from the Article            Continue reading

As Our Parents Age — 2013 Reviewed

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. About 50,000 visitors checked out this blog in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Detached Retina: Understanding that My Eye Won’t Be the Same

Any time a person goes through a big change in life, a seminal event usually occurs to make that individual recognize that the change is becoming a normal part of life — permanent even. The  seminal event in my right eye detached retina saga occurred a few days ago at a regular appointment with my retina surgeon.

mountains to climbAfter my fifth vitrectomy I continued to be the “cockeyed optimist,” as Nellie Forbush, the dedicated South Pacific nurse, sang while World War II raged around her. You see, I kept thinking that if I just hoped enough or continued to wish for better sight to return in my right eye, it would eventually come back. After my appointment, however, I realized that this isn’t going to happen. My eye will improve, but it will not return to the condition that it was in after the first vitrectomy and cataract surgeries nearly a year ago when my sight was better than 20-20.

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