As we age we are outliving home care, visiting care, and family care in ever greater numbers. The need for specialized care, diet, medications, and apparatus has never been greater, and it won’t be this small ever again.
This is the result of: 1, people living longer; 2, modern EMS services throughout the country; and, 3, emergency medicine converting sudden cardiac arrest and stroke, killers of the 50’s and 60’s, into survivable episodes. The fact is that Americans wear out more often than they burn out. It is no one’s fault. It is just fact. Absent a complete reversal of the instinctive drive to keep living, or a social and legal environment that promotes assisted dying, this problem is irreversible. It is an inconvenient miracle.
Advances in living longer have significantly outstripped our inventiveness in dealing with the resulting problems. Gone are the days when an apartment built over the garage will actually provide a caring and adequate environment for an elderly person. Most “traditional” notions of what is “right” and “wrong” in dealing with an elderly relative are only marginally useful in the face of minds that degrade faster than bodies and bodies too frail to engage in basic activities of daily living. “A little help” has evolved into a full time 24/7 job requiring equipment, supplies, narcotics, and procedures. Absent a change in the economics of the standard two income household, the vast majority of families will not be able to remain at home to care for an elderly parent. It is an overwhelming statistical reality that the vast majority of those who read this post will die in a nursing home.
What are you doing to prepare for this reality. Do you have long term care insurance? Have you arranged your affairs so that family members have the power to qualify you for Medicaid? Do you have equities that can sustain a $50,000 per year care bill? It may be inconvenient, but facing death early is important now more than ever.
This article is written by an attorney at Wyatt & Mirabella, PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today for a free consultation, please click here to contact us.