Aging Well April 30th 2013

Do you expect you will ever need long term care services? And knowing that Medicare does not cover long term care, are you prepared to pay for it, i.e. long term care insurance or personal assets?
The reality is 70% of Americans over 65 will need some kind of long term care for an average of three years. But the ability to provide long term care for everyone who will need it in the future is in doubt because of several conflicting national dynamics.
Ever since Medicare and the Older Americans Act were passed in 1965, there has been a national effort to care for and protect vulnerable seniors so they can live with dignity and independence. But an escalating number of adults over 65 will not be prepared financially to afford the high costs of long term care and will eventually spend down their limited assets qualifying for Medicaid assistance. While at the same time, there is currently a significant national movement to reduce the size and cost of government including Medicaid.
Long term care is expensive. The average annual cost for a semi private room in a nursing home is $73,000. (In 2009, Medicaid paid for 40 percent of all nursing home spending in the US.)  And a Licensed Home Health Aide costs $43,472. Already the elderly account for 25 percent of annual Medicaid spending while being only 10 percent of Medicaid enrollees
You can learn more about this complex and critical national issue at the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on May 8th. We will watch and discuss a March 20, 2013 panel discussion, convened by The SCAN Foundation, “on practical options from various perspectives for increasing access to affordable long-term care services for the millions of Americans needing this support”.  
The SCAN Foundation’s is an independent, non-profit public charity devoted to transforming health care for seniors in ways that encourage independence and preserve dignity. You can learn more about the challenges of providing long term care at their website .
The Wasco County Pioneers’ Annual Meeting has been held on the first Saturday in May since 1921 – which this year is Saturday May 4th at Calvary Baptist Church. And if you haven’t heard, after lunch Bill Johnson will speak about “Our Oregon Trail” with pictures of segments of the trail most people will never have a chance to see since they are located on private land. It should be a fascinating presentation.
Hopefully you will be attending the Friday Night Out Library Benefit and Auction at the Center on Friday May 3rd to support the children’s library expansion. And besides the live music, pizza and drinks, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bid on a variety of auction items including  (now listen carefully OSU fans!) a Vintage Benny the Beaver hat from Oregon State University circa 1947 and an Oregon State Rookie lid (a freshman beanie with a green top and an orange bill). There is also a paperback copy of “Sometimes a Great Notion” autographed by the late Merry Prankster himself – Ken Kesey, and a hardbound copy with dust jacket of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood End” autographed by the author at Willamette University in 1968. Tickets are $20, doors open at 5:30 and it is a 21 and over event – so sorry no grandchildren this time.
And before the hair line recedes and what’s left turns grey, playing tonight at the Center is “For the Good Times”. Then starting at the top of the batting order for a new month, on May 7th“The Strawberry Mountain Band” will play for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.
The terrible tasting oil many mothers used was Castor Oil, but other responses I received which may also bring back memories were Cod Liver Oil and Fletcher’s Castoria. (And the randomly selected winner is – drum roll please – Talie Kingsbury.)
But back to pop culture during the 1950’s – and thanks to Annie Lane for suggesting this week’s Remember When” question. What was the name of the talking mule, star of seven popular movies in the 50’s, who befriends a hapless young soldier named Peter Stirling? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the Army’s 123rd Mule Detachment.
Well, it has been another week enjoying the ride while keeping an eye out for the potholes. Until we meet again, do you ever have one of those days, when listening to folks debate whether the glass is half full or half empty, you’ll just glad there’s still water in it?

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