Caring for the elderly

Old woman in wheelchair

Because my Mom elderly, and so are her friends, I hear lots of stories about the costs of elder care.  Here’s one that’s interesting.  I’ll stick to the hearsay facts I learned and let you draw the conclusions.  (And you’re free to tell me that those facts can’t possibly be right.  I have my doubts about them too.)

Mom has some friends who are quite wealthy.  When the husband suddenly decompensated, the wife, acting on the doctor’s recommendations, placed him in a Jewish Home for the Aged.  She placed him there in a rather panicked rush.  She then told my mom how beautiful the facility had become over the last twenty-five years (which is when she had checked it out for her own ailing parents).  Each patient has a private room, the food is good, and the decor is lovely.

Last week my mom’s friend pulled her husband out, returned him to her home, and hired round-the-clock attendants.  Why?  Well, as I heard the story, the Jewish Home wanted to charge her $18,000 a month for her husband’s room and board.  In addition, it was requiring that she pay for the attendant care he required.  As she told my Mom, “I’m a rich woman, but this will break me.”

Rumor has it — and I know nothing more than rumor — that many of the patients in the home are charged only what Medicare will pay.  It is possible, then, that my Mom’s friend, who is wealthy, was being used to subsidize the difference between the Home’s costs and what it received from Medicare.

That’s all I know, plus a little bit of speculation.