Matthew in the Middle | Growing old ungracefully – Times-Standard


In your twilight years, if you’ve got your health and wealth, life is great. If you only have one of those, then you’re getting by. If you have neither your health nor wealth, then life can suck, badly.

I know many seniors in their 70s and 80s who have comfortable lifestyles with pensions, Social Security, real estate and investment incomes. They travel the world, are active in sports and in our local community. They’re living large and enjoying their golden years. If they’ve done some financial planning, they paid down, if not paid off their mortgage. All they have to pay is property taxes and homeowners insurance. Their cars are paid in full so all they owe is auto insurance and gas. Life is good.

Then I know many who have health or financial issues. It’s tough when your body gives out on you later in life. Limited mobility can cause issues with life, especially if you want to travel. Limited financial income can become a major issue as one ages. The small things like your furnace or car breaking down can cause headaches with a finite budget. I knew a retired teacher whose body gave out on her with a funky Lou Gerig-like disease. Her mind was sharp as a tack, but she was confined to a wheelchair.


I’m gonna sort of break HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws. It’s really a law that medical providers can’t disclose a patient’s medical history, which doesn’t cover relatives. I have two brothers, both veterans, one who walked point through the jungles of Vietnam, in nursing homes as neither can walk. My middle brother can’t walk, nor talk after two strokes and has been confined to a bed for years now and will die in that bed someday. He communicates with a thumb up or thumb down and his middle finger. His quality of life is zero.

Thank God both of them are veterans, as the VA will cover the cost of a nursing home for its veterans. I’ll point out that if not for Medicare and VA health care — both government-run health care, AKA, “socialized medicine” many seniors would be living in the streets. So next time you’re watching Fox, think twice about “socialism,” as you really love it.

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