Thursday, August 8, 2013

Got My Education In The School Of Hard Knocks

In October of 2010 polls indicated that 77% of Americans believed that the cost of entitlement programs would bankrupt the country. Fast forward to this morning, August 8 of 2013 and FOX is saying that 77% of Americans believe that we the people look to the government to do what we won't do for ourselves. No, I was not voluntarily listening to FOX, it was the channel my Thursday morning client had on. He's deaf, it's loud and there is no place to go except outside to get away from hearing it.

During the election campaign, when I was caring for his wife, that channel would be on the entire time I was in his house and we would wrangle a little about what was being said. Not too much since in a clients home I'm not allowed to voice my opinions on politics or religion, so I always kept it light and let him see what I thought by reading my face. Now that his wife is in a nursing home and I am there to care for him, his opinions have undergone quite a change.

The reality of just how little the government actually pays for has occurred. FOX is no longer the be all and end all source of information the way it used to be. His opinions are now formed by his life experience as mine has always been. At 86, he now knows just how much spin there is on everything FOX reports, and he's developed a liking for old movies, Matlock and Hoda and Kathy Lee.

I had an "I told you so" moment this morning. I mentioned, in passing, (lol) that he no longer watches FOX as much as he used to. He did a little spitting and sputtering about it, but his explanation actually ended with the words I've used as the title for this post. Being honest, I did allow that 77% of Americans quite likely do believe that people look to the government to do what they won't do for themselves. His response? It was, verbatim "Maybe these people need to open their eyes and see that it isn't that we won't, it's that we CAN'T."

His wife is being cared for in a nursing home which is taking every penny they had set aside over his Social Security. The plan was to sell his home and move him into an assisted living home or a Senior apartment complex in the city. He had a real estate broker come to assess the value of his home and after finding out what it would sell for, it was discovered that the nursing home, despite it's getting paid, has placed a lien on it.

He can sell his home but the proceeds must be placed in an escrow account and used to pay for his wife's care if his money runs out. This leaves him without enough money to pay for assisted living so his two daughters are paying for homecare since he doesn't qualify for any assistance from Medicaid.

They pay for a nurse to come and make sure he's taking his medications correctly. He's forgetful and doesn't always. I go for 3 hours every Thursday to help him with his shower, laundry and household tasks like changing sheets and making sure his bathrooms are clean. His daughters live down south. One in Kentucky and the other in the Carolinas. They come to see him as often as they can. They may try to take him south for the winter. I don't believe he'll go since it would mean leaving his wife of 66 years behind. They wouldn't be able to take her since she requires care that can't happen in a home setting anymore.

The problem is that no matter how much you set aside for your old age, the unforseen expenses can eat that up in a very short time. Most of my clients money was in the hands of Wall Street. He lost a great deal in 2008 when the market went south and hasn't been able to recover. The reality of life for the elderly is that the expenses one incurs keep rising and ones income stays the same.

Of course, that's not anything we'll hear from FOX news. They prefer to feed the Conservative meme that everyone, except the rich, are looking for a handout on the backs of those who worked for their money. They'll find out when it's their turn to experience the problems of old age.


  1. When I go into a VA waiting room they often have the FOX channel running on the TV...and people are watching it. It makes me crazy. Perhaps it has something to do with the age demographics.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    1. Old people and the military are considered to be staunch Republicans. Hence the Repuke channel on their TV.

      My real life experience is that isn't true, but the other staunch Repukes, the ones in charge, don't seem to have gotten the memo.