Not So Golden years

Today I had a gentleman who came into my assisted living facility looking for care for his wife. We reviewed the various costs associated with moving into a facility to which he seemed very unsettled.  He explained to me that he and his wife came to America in search of the American Dream, working very hard for over 60 years to be able to retire and enjoy their golden years together. “You mean to tell me that after all we have done to enjoy our golden years together, they will not be golden after all this?” He quietly asked. I was unsure how to answer him, nor really clear on the question.

He elaborated in great detail about his wife, describing her outward beauty, her gentle spirit and kind heart. ” I want my wife taken care of, regardless of the expense, but I must say the golden years are not golden.” he offered. After he left my office, I thought about what he had said. Certainly it does cost a lot of money to live in an assisted living, ranging anywhere from three thousand to five thousand dollars a month for just room and board. The additional fees of levels of care, medication administration, medication packaging, and electronic charting fees and such quickly add up. Roughly, a person would need six thousand dollars a month to live in such a facility. That is over 72,000 dollars a year! Surely, this is too much. Surely there has to be another way we can meet the needs of those needing memory care facilities without draining their resources completely. Does it really cost 72000.00 to provide care for one person annually? No, it doesn’t,  Just as any other industry, health care is a revenue driven business that most likely shows a very healthy  profit and holds a secure place in the economy . Baby boomers are aging, and as they age, assisted living will become even more profitable. As I look at my check book, my golden years are more like plated nickle…I work in health care, so I am not the one reaping the benefits of the cash flow. I just wonder what the future will hold for all of us…


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