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My 87 year old parents are Canadian snowbirds. They love Florida and have spent the past 35 winters enjoying the sun. They have both recently been diagnosed with COPD and bronchiectasis. I'm not sure if it is universal, but up here COPD is rated in levels of early, moderate, severe and very severe. My parents are both already at severe. They don't need oxygen, yet. We are fortunate to have universal health care up here and they have excellent medical care at their fingertips at no cost to them whatsoever. They can see their doctor or go to the ER anytime and never see a bill. My challenge? They love Florida so much, they are determined to go anyways, even though they no longer qualify for travel health insurance. I have warned them that one cold or case of the flu and it could wipe out all their savings. It would help to be able to give them an actual cost. What a chest CT costs, what chest xrays costs, trips to the doctor, possible stays in the hospital. I'm wondering if I had a tangible amount I could give them they would "get it". Unfortunately one of the negative aspects of our wonderful health care system is, they have no idea what it costs to manage severe COPD/bronchiectasis. I'm very scared that they are just going to pick up and go. I have the added challenge in that my mother is in early stages of Alzheimers and so she will willingly do whatever Dad wants... and he wants his Florida sunshine. I can't go with them, I have to work. They would be in FL alone. Anyone know the cost? Anyone have any suggestions? I appreciate any and all replies...

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Hi Katiekat, this is an old post that has been resurrected by a spammer.
It was an interesting read though, I wonder how things are now with the OP and if her parents continued to be snowbird. Travelling to the USA with preexisting health conditions is definitely a gamble even when you can get insurance as poor Trisha found out, it is why most older snowbirds I know eventually have to give up their winter homes down south.
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The high humidity year round in FL is not good for anyone with COPD

If they must have sunshine and warm in the winter...they should pick Arizona. Not as warm as Miami...but dry air makes breathing easier.

Altogether, I would say that leaving behind health coverage when one is that ill seems a poor decision. Maybe she should stay and let him go alone?
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My Mom snowbirds from canada to florida for 6 months year. She bought property there and 1 and 1/2 years into this she get sick, doctors in florida said she had everything wrong but doctors in Canada beg to differ. Her insurance told her they won't cover her cuts when asked a question they said she did not answer it correctly. Mom has a letter from doctor saying there was no way that mom would of known of this and it was not serious enough to put as a condition. we got a lawyer in canada and lawyer said it would cost too much to go after the big insurance company. I dont think this is fair game Does anyone know how to help my Mother....where i could start....Canada or Florida....Mom have improved so much more and Drs were expecting a much worse patient.....My mother is a very honest lady and insurance just want to not pay out ...sad
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I hope you update us on your situation with parents. I know you would facilitate their move if you could. My kids don't like that my husband and I are down here alone, even though they know how much it means to us, Florida living. As things worsen for us through the years, we will have to expand options and act on them.

Your mama will definitely need help as her disease worsens. It'll be more than dad can handle. Home care? Big expense! Assisted living? Big expense!
You dad, also, will need help with depression. Insidious disease, Alzheimer's!!
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Thanks FloridaGulfer. You are right. I actually stopped fighting against them and their longings for FL. I told them they are free to go to Florida if they choose, but that I will not help them. If they have the wherewithal to get themselves down there, they will need to be "grown-ups" and get themselves either to a hospital or home again on their own. (Of course it's not so... I would help them in an emergency.) I think that was enough for them to realize this is serious and much more than they care to take on. The past few months they have began to have a better outlook on accepting their change in lifestyle living up here in Canada permanently. Mind you, it's summer right now and hotter than blazes up here. I don't know what to expect come November when they would usually head back down to their beloved tropical home. I'll deal with that when I have to.
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I would just P.S., here: My mother was with Alzheimer's for twenty-one terrible years. She was in a good nursing home for 17 years. My father was turned out of a residence home when he started 'wandering' into rooms. His death knell was signing papers to enter a nursing home. He was 95 at the time. He was extremely depressed, there, and after his 96th birthday he started starving himself. He said, "I'm too tired...don't want to go on even though I'd planned on outliving mother to watch over her..." He died two months later, in his sleep. Mother passed three weeks later. I mention all this to press my opinion that your folks should be where they are CONTENT and HAPPY, regardless of risks.

My daughter wants us to come back to Seattle for summers. We are too tired to even contemplate such a move. But, we are younger than your folks and might get cajoled into doing it because Seattle summers are beautiful. Thanks for listening.
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Hi. I understand and empathize with you and the situation. I've been thinking about a reply...My husband and I are in 70's and both have COPD. We were "Seattle Rainbirds" for four years, in FL, before moving here permanently last fall. We've both gone through major exacerbations since spring. The humidity and heat here on Gulf Coast FL is horrendous.

Take this into consideration: Your parents are 87 years old and they don't want to be where they are...Canada. Unless they are both suffering from dementia, I take it your dad is of sound mind and should be able to decide for himself whether being in Florida with risks outweighs getting free medical care in an environment where they don't want to be. It's tough...(but remember how we used to balk and rebel against our parents when we were trying to be independent? (eye-roll))
Well, looks like the tables have turned! :) Good luck to your parents and to you. You personify the loving, caring daughter. Bless you!
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They don't have dual citizenship. To qualify uninterrupted for our healthcare up here, you cannot "vacation" outside the country for longer than 6 months, so that is what they have done all these years. Living outside the country for longer than that can possibly mean an interruption in complete care and may mean the person needs to purchase additional insurance, as my son had to do when he lived abroad for a couple years. But upon return and repatriation in Canada, full coverage is restored. My parents problem is, with this new diagnosis of COPD and bronchiectasis they are now uninsurable for supplementary travel insurance. Our basic health care up here would cover a minimum of things, but nowhere near what would be necessary if they were to need hospitalization. The gamble of travelling and hopefully not needing medical care is not worth it in my opinion. Hopefully they will soon come to agree with this. They are very sad about not returning to Florida and it's breaking my heart to see them so sad. I have to remind them how blessed they are.
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Jerrnie, I just thought of something a friend from near Vancouver told me. He is very comfortable financially and travels to various places around the world often. One of his favorite destinations is Hawaii. He told me he takes out traveler's insurance anytime he goes there. He has a heart condition. He told me that if something were to happen when he was on US soil that it would wipe him out financially. He even takes out insurance if he is on a weekend jaunt to Seattle.

BTW, do your parents have dual citizenships, or are they citizens of only one of the countries?
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So true, Debralee. So many people can't afford insurance and just hope for the best. If something does happen, they are devastated financially. I had a hard time understanding the resistance to healthcare reform in the US. I have a feeling that most people didn't really understand what they were resisting because so much bad information was sent out in emails, online, and on TV. It is easy to sway public opinion with viral emails and TV broadcasts.
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The winters in Florida are not as bad as the summer months, but medical treatment in the states can be very expensive if you do not have health insurance. A person without insurance can pay three times the amount of medical costs compared to what health insurance companies pay out. Unless your parents are rich, I would not recommend they use the US healthcare system. It will wipe them out financially.
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JessieBelle thanks for your reply... the problem my parents would have is that the "warm air" in Florida is extremely humid, which is very bad for COPD. That's why Arizona is so good for people with lung problems: dry heat. My parents love the heat SO much that they don't even have any air conditioning in their Florida home. Trouble is the humidity can shut down diseased lungs. And then I am yet again facing a trip to the ER which could clean out their entire savings account. And for what? They have completely FREE excellent health care in Canada. It's heart-breaking and I feel so badly for them... they can live in Canada with all the health care they ever need and never see a bill... but they are so confused (and I am now learning this is an issue with oxygen deprivation) they say they are willing to "die penniless in Florida" just to have their tropical home back. I feel so badly for them because it makes me the bad guy to insist they stay here in Canada. I know that by April they won't mind. It's just hard dealing with them right now. They complain to me several times a day how much they hate this country. I remind them of our American friends who have no insurance who would welcome living in Canada and having free health care but they just don't "hear" me. Such a horrible circle.
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Having COPD myself has caused me plenty of medical bills, and sorry to say my insurance that I have at this time is minimal. Have considered move, but unable to handle the cold here in MO, so don't think doing that and moving my husband with Dementia is a very smart idea. I have incurred about 150K at this time, and have to say the lucky my 13day hospital visit at St. Joes, they have dropped my bill to 10K. I was taken off work and placed on disability, which still in 10 months has not come through, and even so, can not get medicare for two years after you are placed there, my husbands income is $133 to much for me to get medicade so I continue on doing the best I can. Sometimes, we just have to say, we will get to it when we can.
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Jerrnie, everyone from any country is welcome here. Glad you joined us.

There is one thing that Florida has that can be beneficial -- warm air. People with COPD often have trouble breathing cold air. Do they have any trouble with it?
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Thanks Revkaye! I'll add that into my calculations. So far I have come up with over $37K worth of health care visits, prescriptions and diagnostic tests for my parents combined. Had they stayed in FL where they no longer have coverage, that is what their tally could have been. If they stay in Canada their bill is zero. My challenge is: Canada does not have palm trees! *eyeball roll*

Our family has such a challenge because my parents are an hour away from the closest family member. They will not move. We also have the usual challenge that they do not want visits from community helpers. They are refusing any kind of help right now, no Meals on Wheels, no house cleaners, etc. They can well afford it, but as is typical with their generation: they are BEYOND frugal! They pick and choose what they will spend their money on. My father has needed new hearing aids for over 6 years and refuses to buy new ones, however he purchased and paid cash for an amazing new car last year!

So glad to find this website. I know I'm not American, but given my parents home in FL, maybe I can stay? I have yet to find a Canadian site/forum like this. It's a godsend.
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I have COPD and Alzheimer's. My Meds for COPD alone cost over $250 and that's with health insurance. It make things tough with all the other meds. we take and both of us are on SSI.
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