I live in a home with three bedrooms. At some point I will need care; especially if I elect to live-in-place. I need a cheap solution; especially at night. Someone to allay my fears of the dark and to answer the phone, the door and generally be a human presence.
A caregiver who is really just an elder-sitter would cost me $20 per hour or $240 a night and I would be asleep. That comes to $87,600 per year; a bit much given my social security of $1600 per month and no pension.
My solution is a student nurse. She can make aging in place workable.
Average student loan debt for graduating nurses is $30,000. The average cost of board and room at UNM for a student nurse is $8580 per school year. This does not include non-academic periods. For three years rooming at the geezer’s, this would be a savings of $25,740; not counting the non-school year times.
I spoke informally to a lady at the UNM nursing school and to a fourth year student nurse, both of whom said it was possible to provide a nursing student with board and room in exchange for staying overnight at my house.
The student would live in one of my empty rooms, use the spare bathroom, eat the food from my “ice box” and check up on me, calling 911 as necessary.
She would be free during the day for classes; could have a boy/girl friend stay over, and could cut her student loans by at least $25,000.
She could do a paper on practical geriatrics for her geriatric course. She could study me, bring fellow students/professors around; and could generally get academic mileage out of her stay with me. I could be the guinea pig for geriatric research programs.
I could visit my kids during exams; and, we could work out something for periods when she had to be away.
She would have enough expertise; more than an elder-sitter; and, would know what to do in an emergency.
She would be better trained and vetted than the usual care-giver. I am afraid that someone is going to scam me or that a care-giver is going to steal my valuables and medicines. A nursing student has a career to lose if she does something unethical or illegal.
A win-win for both of us. She could even drop me off at the adult day-care on her way to classes. And could share my Meals-on Wheels.
When she graduates, she could provide me with a replacement from the entering class.
And I would be the envy of the senior community.
I need a large “senior button” on my computer keyboard to take it into senior mode.
Pressing the button would disable everything I didn’t need including, without limitation, ads, spam, e-mails and anything except what I had specifically included.
The senior button has to be large, clearly marked and perhaps even a toggle switch or a button like the illustration that signals a bus driver that an old person wants off. I need to signal the computer that it needs to stop and let me off.
Pressing the senior button will disengage all the software and hardware, except for the following which would be in large print:
- E-mail from people I select.
- Skype in case my grandkids call.
- The obituary page of the local paper.
- Stock market update.
- Select telephone numbers that by clicking would dial select friends and family members.
- E-mail addresses with a picture of the recipient.
- An onscreen volume control so I can hear.
- Daily menu at the local senior center.
When the button was pressed a second time, it would re-enable the computer so that my grandkids could fix things.
This would be simple.
Think about it. old people suffer from too much, not too little; and not just in computers. Think about the world you occupy. There are too many choices that require too much time to learn.
Every town has a library. When you travel, a library can be your best friend. You can find:
- Information about the town you are in.
- A bookstore that will sell books that the library no longer wants or which have been donated for as little as $1 for hardback and 25 cents for paperbacks, many of them recent best-sellers.
- Frequently they have cafes where you can get a coffee and food.
- They have computers that you can use.
- They have interesting programs and sometime trips for anyone who is interested.
- Local and national magazines; see what is going on in town and read the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal.
- And, finally there is a huge magazine rack with the latest magazines; most of which you don’t get, and which take you out of your comfort zone.
In the US there are 26,200 prisoners over 65 in state and federal prisons and 124,400 over the age of 55.
The geezer, who is 75, and an “opportunist” is thinking outside the box; or perhaps ‘inside the box.” If I have no money, little social security, no home, no assets, no family; and have to line up at the soup kitchen for meals and the free street clinic for medical care, maybe there is another way.
At 75, what do I need? My sex life is a thing of the past; there is no one to take care of me, I am frequently wet and cold; I am regularly exposed to every type of riffraff; and, can no longer fight off street predators. How can I live out my days in some comfort, be warm, eat regularly, and have adequate medical and dental care?
The answer is to rob a bank.
The sentence seems to be 10 years plus an extra 5 years if you have a gun. I need to check to see if the gun has to be loaded; wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. The 15 years takes me to 90 which is about my life expectancy on a good day and I don’t have to0 many of them. If I got in a fight or two, I can avoid good time.
The big problem is that I might get probation since I don’t have a record; so, I might have to rob the same bank twice; or, even three times.
Given the economic and social future of the elderly, prison doesn’t sound too bad; and, it can’t be worse than a nursing home; even if I qualified. If you can’t pay, Medicaid is the only answer. Assisted living is out of the question without money or long-term care insurance.
There is probably a downside, but I am having trouble seeing it.
The food can’t be worse than most senior institutions. If I have a room(cell)mate, he would probably be about my age. I would probably be in some sort of minimum security facility, but, given the gun I might be in a maximum security facility. The friends I would make would probably be better than the ones on the street.
Would I be safe? Probably. I am sure that most Federal Prisons take care of old people; albeit, reluctantly. There are work programs in most institutions and perhaps I could care for other old people if I couldn’t get assigned to the library. Win-win.
The New York Times has an article on California state prisons that have caregivers called ” gold coats.” These are inmates, usually murderers, who in exchange for a “gold coat,” and other privileges, look after the elderly; especially those with dementia. They protect them from the other prisoners, get them food, make sure they don’t fall; and, in general act as highly trained caregivers. They sound better than some in nursing homes I have visited.
Do I want to go this route? I suppose it depends on how cold and hungry I get; and, if I am competent to rob a bank when the time comes.
Or, maybe it would just be cheaper and better to move all of us old prisoners and “Gold Coats” to the “abandoned” military bases where they are keeping illegal immigrants.
At 77, I am a “good” driver; maybe a few problems with eyesight, hearing and attention span. I usually know where I am going. The AARP driving course for seniors lowers my insurance rates; and, I avoid driving at night, on freeways and with my kids, who watch me. They know that I saw my father take his father’s car keys. He and I agreed that he could keep his car as long as he didn’t drive it; so, it was parked for several years.
My car has a few dings. I renew my license annually, not for 10 years anymore. MVD and I joke about the eye test.
So, I joined UBER. It was scary. I didn’t know what I was getting into; and, learning to call UBER on a smart phone?? I had to know where I was going; I couldn’t just drive around looking for the place I thought I wanted to go. I also had to know where I was.
I tried UBER in Tucson; clicked on the UBER App; typed in my address and the restaurant address. It took three tries and a bit of deleting, but I did it.
In 3 minutes a picture of the UBER driver, car make and license number appeared on the screen. Two minutes later he was there; just like his picture, and took us straight to our favorite restaurant. The trip cost of $6.32 appeared on the screen; I clicked ok, clicked that the driver was great and he clicked that I was a great passenger. We parted company. We had a nice dinner, re-apped UBER. Same deal, different driver. Cost $5.47; total cost $11.79, no tipping, no money; the amount on my credit card minutes later. The drivers were both great, interesting, and I didn’t worry about the extra glass of wine.
AAA reports the average cost to own a car in 2015 was $8698. For two of us, that comes to $17,396. I don’t think I spend that much, but….. I don’t really want to find out.
My wife and I have two cars, even though we usually travel together. Kelly Blue Book says a dealer would give us about $25,000 for them. Do we need two cars? No cars? One car and UBER?
How many trips do we need to take? One a day? How far do we go? Mostly close to our condo. Seven trips a week; 14 UBER trips; averaging $10 per trip, which may be high. $140 a week; or, $7280 a year.
Using UBER we have a chauffeur, do not cause accidents, are calmer, etc. We even age better. Have you ever had someone say: “Do you see that car?” 10 times a trip?
The bus costs 50 cents and goes most places, but takes longer. Kids work, grandkids are too young and neighbors would rather car-pool with UBER.
The bottom line is: UBER could save us up to $10,116 per year. Even a $1000 savings would be worth it. The real bottom line is that our driving years will soon come to an END; our cars will be taken from us; we will move in with UBER and use the $25,000 for four years of UBER.
Maybe UBER will have caregivers in ten years…..; hopefully, with a car.
UBER is experimenting with programs for seniors, that include, senior-trained drivers, special cars, etc. No details yet.
The New York Times recently reported on UBER’s new ride sharing program which should interest seniors and save them money.
Since I originally wrote this, The New York Times has reported on ride-sharing which fills niches that UBER does not cover, yet. The one that interested me the most was Lift Hero, which provides rides for old people. The web page is down for maintenance, but keep checking. UBER was running a test program for old people in Tucson a few months ago, but I have not seen anything on this recently.
Transportation is a real and growing problem for old people; especially where public transportation is not available.
When you travel, think UBER. I have had success in Panama and Montreal, Canada.
A change of senior-mind-set is required.
Voting was simple when you were young. Now that you are old it can become more complex. It can even be stressful. You have to register; you have to remember election day; you have to get yourself to the polling place; you have to wait in line; and, you are aware of the people lined up behind you as you try to read a ballot with small print – and, you forgot your magnifying glass. In addition, you don’t really know who or what to vote for. The language of issues on ballots make no sense.
People who are over 65 seem to turn out to vote more than other age groups, but the percentage was still only about 45% in the last election.
For old people, voting is important. Politicians are constantly looking at Social Security, Medicare and the Older Americans Act. If you don’t vote, you have no one but yourself to blame for what happens. You are part of a major voting block. You need to make your wishes and the wishes of other old people known.
There are five simple steps to voting when old. I will use New Mexico where I live. I will give you key words, so that you and your grand-kid can search out the rules in your state. There are no old age voting requirements that I am aware of. If you have been adjudicated incompetent, you will have a problem. If you have been convicted of a crime you may have a problem.
The goal is to vote at home, take your time and not feel stressed.
- Register – by mail if you can. If not, find out how to do it in your state or call the party you support. They will help you. Make sure that you have the necessary identification.
- Identify the candidates and issues. Check the newspapers for a list of candidates and issues. Or, go on-line.
- Find someone whom you trust to help you, if necessary. Just make sure that it is you that is voting, and not someone else.
- Order an absentee ballot – You can download the ballot in NM and then just send it in.
- Vote at your leisure and mail in your ballot to the county clerk for your county.
Finally encourage all the old people you know to do the same. At the assisted living facility, get the ombudsman to help you if your kids or friends can’t.
The important thing is to vote. You are part of a vulnerable class of voters; and, your rights will be at stake.
Search in your state:
“voter registration +name of state”
“absentee voting +name of state”
Note that registration and absentee balloting differ by states, so check yours out. Check out the competency requirements and the deadlines.
Transporting old people is a pain. They complain, are difficult to work with, and it is time-consuming. Think of a cross-country car trip with The Geezer. Not to mention the expense and the time missed from work.
The Geezer has developed “GeezerPack.” If you have a loved-one over the age of 70, packed (perhaps “boxed” is more accurate) and ready to go by 5:00 PM, live delivery anywhere in the continental United States is guaranteed by 10:00 AM the next day. Included is a packing box with a comfortable chair, portable light with extra batteries, boxed lunch, water bottle, tranquilizer, portable tape-player with the hits of the 50’s, oxygen, blanket, diaper approved by NASA and identity card. Couples packs are available. International shipment is being planned. An emergency walker is also included. Each GeezerPack is also waterproof as there have been delays due to inclement weather.
The pack can be used at the destination as a temporary home. It fits through most doorways and stairways. It is clearly marked “THIS SIDE UP!”
We have shipped over 1000 seniors without a complaint.
Each GeeserPack is barcoded and you can track your loved one on your home computer or smart phone. Each GeezerPack is delivered to your address by two strong men and a truck. For a slight additional fee they will help rearrange your furniture. The box and chair are yours to keep.
Please carefully wrap your senior as sometimes the GeezerPack gets dropped or falls.
Frequent shipper cards available. Every 10th shipment is free. Get your card punched by the driver.
DON’T DELAY, SHIP YOUR SENIOR TODAY!
The New York Times has a book review entitled Seeing, and Thinking, Like Sherlock Holmes by Katherine Bouton in which she reviews Maria Konnikova’s, “Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.” I was struck by the following:
“Another thing we can learn from Holmes is the importance of continuous self-education. When Watson asks why he persists in pursuing a case that seems solved, Holmes replies: “It is art for art’s sake. I suppose when you doctored you found yourself studying cases without a thought of a fee?” Watson answers, “For my education, Holmes.” Just so, Holmes replies. “Education never ends.”
Twenty-first-century technology reinforces these values. Sequential scans of older adults who learn to juggle or to speak a new language show an increase in gray matter in the relevant areas of the brain. Further, Ms. Konnikova tells us, with application and practice “even the elderly can reverse signs of cognitive decline that has already occurred.” (The emphasis is hers — “out of pure excitement,” she explains.)” Bold is added.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes is available on Amazon.com for your Kindle for $2.99. The Kindle has an advantage over books in that you can increase the size of the print, which is important if you are 72 and have questionable eyesight.
To paraphrase: When Watson asks why he persists in pursuing a life that seems finished, he replies…”Education never ends.”
I plan to reread Holmes for more insight; if not education.
A library is an old person’s salvation on a vacation, at home or when visiting younger family members who work. It provides books to buy, a cafe for coffee and sandwiches, magazines, free internet access, classes and all sorts of free information. It is frequently open on Sunday and always during the week.
Like many genealogical libraries. Largo is a wealth of information.There are free computers, free wi-fi and thousands of books that can be used for genealogical research.
The Pinellas County Genealogical Society meets here and sponsors lectures and help with research. There are always a few members hanging around who are happy to help you.
At the main desk you can buy genealogical forms including a 15 generation form for $2. You can make copies and there is a librarian ready to help you with any problem.
You can buy a USB flash drive for $5 and by paying $1 for a day pass you can access Ancestory.com with its infinite source of genealogical information.
The library also subscribes to about a dozen genealogy related magazines that you didn’t even know existed.
Largo is only one example. Many libraries have a genealogy section; usually run by the city or state genealogical society. In Albuquerque it covers the whole second floor of the main library and includes, copiers, thousands of books from every state, newspaper files, computer access and helpful members of the staff and the Albuquerque Genealogical Society.
In other places, Google: library+name of city+genealogy,
So, Google: library+Largo, FL+genealogy and you get:
City of Largo, Florida | Genealogy
www.largo.com › City Departments › Largo Public Library
The Largo Public Library has been designated as the center for genealogical research for the Pinellas Public Library
In Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Google: library+Albuquerque, NM and you would get:
The Genealogy Center in the Albuquerque Main Library at 501 Copper, NW is … PO Box 25512, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
You can discover the secrets of your family’s past. You hopefully will discover a number of scandalous stories to tell your friends and grandchildren. You will be more interesting than if you just talk about the last TV show you saw or about how terrible it is to grow old. You will also meet some interesting new (“old”) people.
With your genealogy as a base, you have a focus for new trips, your own living museums where you and your ancestors are the stars. You can visit the asylum where your great-great grandmother spent most of her life. Most old people aren’t really too interesting, and don’t seem to have much purpose. Don’t be one of those. Explore your past.
You can also check out old death certificates and find out what your ancestors died from; hopefully, few of them were shot by jealous spouses.
Restaurant Impossible is one of my favorite TV shows, so of course it got me thinking. Why couldn’t Robert, or someone like him, come in and redo me?
Like the restaurants on the show, I am a mess after 75 years. I am out of shape. My finances are a mess. I don’t even know what all the pills I take are for.
I am in need of redoing! I need to be rehabbed. So, I wrote to Geezer Impossible and offered myself!
I am out of date; although a plus is that I have donated all my stained, checkered pants with zippers that don’t work to Good Will. I now wear relaxed fit jeans. Not much of an improvement, but a start. Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ), I am not, yet….. And, the fifty’s may come back.
I need a team to come in clean me up, shape me up, revise my life style, perhaps come up with a new style or at least a theme. Make me a modern “old man.” Are there “theme” old people?
Robert could meet with my family, friends, advisors, etc.; find out what they were doing for me, put them on notice that they need to shape up, then go to work on me.
He could have a group of experts; perhaps a doctor, a financial planner, a lawyer, a geriatric shrink and of course a dietician.
The result would be a new old man; with a modern theme. Instead of walking me through the door of a restaurant, Robert could walk my family through the door of my new living space and show me off. They could all marvel at how old people could be rejuvenated.
It might be necessary to do a series of old people makeovers to determine if this was a viable process. Data is important; and, of course we would need follow-up. How long could I endure my new theme.
The redo might be franchised. Old People Impossible, make overs for those over 75. Maybe even a TV show, preferably in the late afternoon, with wine.
After writing this, I woke up!