No topic in America may be as closeted and yet on the tips of people’s tongues as what really happens as loved ones pass through their senior years, especially the end of life.
This week, I told one verbose middle-aged friend who called that his college roommate has been taking care of his wife’s 91-year-old mother at his home, which silenced him. His ex-roommate, an accountant, was stunned when told by a local nursing home “to bring her in and we’ll figure out the finances later.” They charge $10,000 a month.
Before I could say this sounded like a senior version of a subprime loan, he blurted out that his 83-year-old ex-professor dad just had both knees replaced and was “wondering what he will do before he dies.” Then he recounted wanting to help a relative get a veterans’ stipend toward nursing home costs, griping that hiring an expert for the paperwork costs $4,500. And then he fretted about his mother-in-law in her 80s.