09 March 2009

Interest letter from a reader who deals with geriatrics


I am an RN in Maine, who does admission and scheduled wellness updates on clients in an independent retirement community.

I have noticed an increase in concerns about ability to remain in the apartments where clients now live due to loss of income from investments. “Where am I going to go, when my investments don’t give me the income?” “Will I become homeless?” These were questions one man voiced as he was trying to reach his financial planner in Florida at Christmas.

Rents for all apartments went up 6% in Jan.2009.

Decrease in occupancy as some families take parents into their own homes to save money.

A client planning to move into assistant living facility even though he is independent in his needs, because he is about out of money and MaineCare will pay for assisted living if income qualifies.

Clients not obtaining dental and podiatry care or hiring added services or additional meals in the community dining room, since they are watching their savings decrease and shelter is more important.

Many of my clients lived in those Florida and Arizona communities prior to the Maine relocation. They returned to Maine due to loss of spouse, to declining physical and mental abilities, often brought unwillingly by their children.

What happens to the person who has no family to help financially? What about the people who can not meet community fees and rents and have no where to go after living in the active retirement communities for 5-25 years-it is their home!

Many of my clients miss the warmer client, the social opportunities, and the homes and sometimes the pets, they had to leave behind. Depression, at least one suicide and increasing isolation are very evident after the move north.

Interesting times for this segment of our population. And interesting personally, since I am part of this cohort.

Maybe another book? –Revisiting Leisureville During the Current Economic Meltdown!

Isabelle M., RN

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