Your crime? Getting older.
There is only one thing we know for certain. We're on the clock and it is ticking too damn fast. The boomers are getting older. And older.
A few things have happened to make me realize I'm getting old. Besides the wandering aches, this year I qualify for Medicare. Another is I keep seeing Memory Care Units being built as if the industry is expecting a tsunami of check-ins. And unfortunately for some, this is where they will spend their remaining days on this earth. The whole process reminds me of the Eagles' song, Hotel California.
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
'Relax' said the night man,
'We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!'
My bother-in-law has Alzheimer and lives in a Memory Care Unit. I have witnessed his decline, mentally and physically. My sister is Saint Peggy. She kept him at home as long as she was physically able to care for him. Then the hardest decision was made. He could no longer live with her in their home. She goes twice a day seven days a week to a memory care facility to feed him and make sure he is receiving the best possible care. After two years, her health has suffered, not to mention her pocket-book.
This experience has impacted my way of thinking about my final days. I would like to have the power to end my life on my terms. Many of the residents in a memory care facility no longer have any quality of life. They simply exist. Waiting. Few receive the attention my brother-in-law gets from my sister. He no longer knows her, cannot feed himself and is confined to a wheelchair. Physically nothing is wrong with him, just his brain is dying. He could live in this state for many more years. I know he would never want to place such a burden on my sister nor would he want to exist in this state.
There are approximately 76 million baby boomers. Chances are you will know someone with dementia sometime in the near future if you don't already. Alzheimer accounts for 50% of the dementia diagnoses in the U.S. One in 11 people 65 or older has dementia. Bump up to 85 or older and it jumps to one in two people have dementia. This is an epidemic problem. These lock up places aren't cheap. If you can end up broke enough, you can qualify for Medicaid. But, what happens if your spouse is still around?
Unless you have a money tree, long term care is nothing short of a nightmare. In these facilities dementia patients often end up in diapers, don't know what is going on, eat disgusting food and have the worse medical care.
We should be allowed to put in our wills, that if we get to this state then we want a doctor to end our suffering which lessens the burden on those we love.
Long-term care for the elderly is going to be a national crisis in just a few short years.
My sister told me I should get long-term health insurance. After seeing what life is like in a memory care unit, if I get to that point just let me end my life in a dignified way.
As my veterinarian said when we had to put our cat down, "We are more humane to our animals than people."