Earlier this week I wrote about a wonderful resource, a newly published book I was reading called A Bittersweet Season – Caring for Our Aging Parents and Ourselves, by Jane Gross.

Gross wrote a book on caregiving and navigating the system of healthcare, related legal issues, etc., because she and her brother were forced into the process (caring for an ailing parent) without help, and without any guiding resources.
Exposing her own mistakes and blunders as an example of what not to do, trust or assume, she exposes the myths of long term care industry and gives practical advice to families who find themselves in this Bittersweet Season.
In Chapter 2, The Myth of Assisted Living, she points out the following:
  • “We assume, incorrectly, that a good assisted living facility will relieve us of day to day labor and responsibility”
  • “Understand first and foremost, that Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for room and board because assisted living is a provider not of health care but of housing.”
She goes to explain in some detail, her own mistakes and incorrect assumptions about the care available to her mother in a local assisted living facility. She also takes time to give very practical advice, such as the importance of having a primary care physician aware of your loved ones needs, and the importance of asking questions before you chose a facility.
This morning I was reading a regional magazine I enjoy, Blue Ridge Country. One of the featured articles (which was insightful and well written) was about retiring in the South. In 12 Retirement Friendly Retreats, the author discusses price of homes, local activities and restaurants. She fails however, to mention a single thing about healthcare, access to long term care, etc.
Why? She was simply following the trend of so many Americans who plan for “retirement” but not long term care. Apparently, we don’t mind discussing how to retire in style, but also want to ignore what happens next. The getting older part where independence is lost and replaced by the new physical challenge of a broken body.
As I read about local hiking trails and museums in these retirement friendly towns, I wondered why no one actually writes about retirement honestly to exposes the real issues involved in long term care?
Oh wait. Someone did write honestly. Jane Gross did. And I recommend her book for anyone who has a parent who needs help with activities of daily living, or will likely need that assistance in the next 5-10 years.
Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.