General Interest / Senior Living

An End of Life Journey Begins

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Yes, I know. It’s been much too long since I have posted here. But as is the case with many of us who are After Fifty, life sometimes intervenes (interferes) with our plans. The intervening factor here was the sudden, unexpected illness and hospitalization of my 88-year-old mother. It was touch-and-go for a bit, and, bottom line, even though she’ll be fine, life for her will never be the same.

My mother is now in a rehabilitation facility, and they would like to release her, when the time comes, to either an assisted living facility or a nursing home. She won’t hear any of this. No, she wants to go home. Home is an apartment within an Independent Living Facility – and because they have nursing capabilities and personal care assistants on call, her wish to stay “at home” just may be doable. But, we must now begin the search for consistent assistance for her with some daily living activities (bathing, dressing, etc.). So, as the Founder of, you would think that this task would be a piece of cake for me. Well, that’s just not so.

I did turn to AFL’s Senior-Living section in Your Nest and found the article “Finding Primary Caregivers for In-Home Senior Care.” Great article. Does a good job of explaining some of the differences you can expect if you go the route of hiring help through a senior care agency vs. hiring an independent caregiver. And, the article offers some sound advice – like, be prepared for the high turnover rate in caregivers; you have to show patience with staff – they’re not born knowing just how you want them to perform their services, and more. What I found most interesting, however, was the link to a study entitled the Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Survey. I learned that we can expect to pay, on average, $19/hour for a home health aide (which is an increase of 2.7% over last year’s cost). If mother goes instead to an assisted living faciity, the average cost will be $3,185 per month (up over 12% from last year). If and/or when she goes to a nursing home, we can expect the price to be $185 per day. (Note that one of the nice features of the Genworth study is their interactive map – you can click on your state, and even region within your state, to find the average costs for where you or your loved one lives.)

Bottom line, some very astute person once said that the most expensive period of our lives is our last 2 to 3 years. And while I can see that’s going to be true, all I really want is for my mother to be comfortable and content – and safe. And so, the journey through the end of life process begins.

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