Most of us imagine we will always be living unassisted in our homes, happy and content, with our arm around our loved one watching the setting sun. But then over time, that idyllic picture is shattered. You fall and break your hip, or your sight becomes so poor it’s no longer safe to drive, or you can’t remember to turn off the gas stove. Then what do you do?
In those situations, you can still live a meaningful life, but you may need some level of long-term care to keep doing what you like to do.
Long-term care (LTC) is a range of services and supports to meet your personal care needs: helping you get to appointments, cooking meals, bathing, and dressing from a paid caregiver but more often from a spouse or close family member – who often neglect their own health needs. Or it could mean moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home.
Very few people have thought about long-term care or even want to talk about it. They are difficult conversations triggering many emotions; not something you discuss around the dining room table during Thanksgiving with your adult children.
But we should. Why?
Someone turning 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years whether at home or in a care facility.
And it can be expensive. Medicare provides only very limited coverage for long-term care. Thankfully there is Medicaid which pays for the bulk of long-term care services, but it is based on an older adult’s income and assets, often requiring “spending down” to qualify.
Since most of us will need long-term care, we should plan. But we seldom do.
To start you can learn the basics about LTC services at the U.S. government’s LongTermCare.gov website: how to pay for them and how to prepare. The site includes tips for anyone, healthy or not, over age 50.
In Oregon, you can also call the local Area Agency on Aging at 541-506-3512. They offer Options Counseling where trained Options Counselors can work with you and your family to identify your long-term goals and help create an action plan to achieve them. And for anyone over 55 who needs periodic support such as a friendly visit or a ride to the grocery store, you can call Circles of Care at 541-397-0724.
We don’t plan for life with an aging body. But as Jennifer Crowley author of Seven Steps to Long-Term Care Planning points out, if we can move from denial to action, it can relieve a lot of anxiety. “There’s a peace of mind that comes from getting your affairs in order. … There’s never a wrong time to get started. But there’s always a right time. We can’t avoid certain adversities such as illness or injury, but we can prepare for them.”
Brain Tease: Another often-heard challenge for your brain.
Mom and Dad have four daughters, and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the family?
The quarterback from Oregon State University who won the Heisman Trophy in 1962 was Terry Baker. I received correct answers from Nancy Higgins, Doug Nelson, Dave Lutgens, Lee Kaseberg, Jess Birge, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Keith Clymer who got to watch Terry Baker play when his high school football team played WyEast back in 1960. And last week I missed Richard Shaw and Shelley Baxter.
When watching this science fiction movie as a child, I ran out of the living room scared and embarrassed in front of my friends. (I still shut my eyes during scary scenes. I only saw half of Jaws!)
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the prehistoric reptilian monster that debuted in the 1954 film directed and co-written by Ishirō Honda and has been called the “King of the Monsters”? Email your answer to email@example.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a picture of this monster battling King Kong.
Well, it’s been another week, looking for the silver lining on a cloudy day. Until we meet again, keep busy but don’t rush.
“Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can’t retire his experience. He must use it.” Bernard Baruch
Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through
Friday unless otherwise noted.
Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Hood River
Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center
(541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333)
For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services – Goldendale office
(509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068); Skamania County Senior
Answer: Seven. The four daughters have only one brother, making five children, plus mom and dad.