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No husband, no kids, no family. The thought of going to a nursing home is more frightening than comforting because of all of the horror stories I have read and also personally am aware of for some I have known that have ended up there. When there are no family left, when I reach a certain age or health deterioration, what options do I really have when I do not have any money or retirement funds, no one really, to see that I am cared for? I read that Washington and Oregon now have a law on the books that allows one to take their own life when they do not have an expectation of living long (terminal illness) but I do not know if that includes old age. I know that no one wants to think about being all alone in life but what do you do when you know that you will be all alone in death?

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All I cab say is to do like my DH and I have done. We have made friends with lots of younger couples and people who are nice and giving. We don't just take from them either. We help them out and they help us out. If you are of that kind of mindset, join a church with loving members. They can become your family. Look around for people who need you. Believe me they are out there. Be friendly. Volunteer a lot. It is kind of like looking for a spouse. Got to put yourself out there to meet people. Churches, animal shelters, food banks, clubs, women's shelters are places to meet people. Senior citizen centers.
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Being alone and old has always scared me..... So I save for retirement....bottom line, the more money, the more options. I have heards of some young elders sharing a house for company and to share expenses....Golden Girls style.....I want to be Blanche. ;-)
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First forget about the bad stories that you have heard as those are far and few between.... it's not the norm. And also think of it this way, there are loving and caring workers who come from all income levels. Money doesn't make someone care more than someone without money.

Be thankful that here in the States we have Medicaid to help those who cannot self-pay for care. Oh, old age is not a terminal illness... you could feel old at 80 with no health issues and still live to be 100.

I am an only child who had no children, and who knows if my sig other will be around when I become older. I actually look forward to being in a continuing care facility... to me it will be like a college dorm, but without all the late night parties :) I could make a lot of BFF [best friends forever] while living in the facilities. And if I am still mobile, I could do volunteer work to keep myself busy.
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northglor, Assisted suicide goes against all religious and legal statutes. Certainly you don't want to offend God. By the same token, are we interfering with God's will by artificially extending life with pacemakers, feeding tubes, respirators and oxygen tanks? What are the repercussions for that?
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I'm a Christian and I think Jesus understands suffering and knows we mere mortals cannot handle it, so having a bigger dose of morphine or other commonly used hospice drugs is aOk. Several relatives suffered immensely and I know they had expressed they didn't want to be lying there for months in a bed, in diapers, unable to feed themselves. ....and that's exactly what happened. Its not fair to those people who would like to hasten their own death, to tell them No you can't have some comfort in hastening your demise. It doesn't mean that those who do want to linger for months, in such a state, will be forced to choose a hastier retreat. I'm conflicted on the sudden advance demise, but for surely, if someone is already getting drugs, if they wanted a hasty demise, crank it up. They should have this info in chart just as DNR is there, maybe call it DNPS (do not prolong suffering).
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@pamstegman: Is that Nurse Cratched in the photo?

@fre flyer - read my new discussion post. I'm beginning to think the only option is the nursing home or whatever fancy new name they have for it. 'Assisted Living" is quite frankly, only for the wealthy among us. In FL, it's $5500 per month, self pay.

Some people will pay (and this is a low ball figure) anywhere from $250,000 entry fee to get into the apartments where you can live normally with the guarantee you'll be able to graduate to assisted living and/or nursing home care. Now the apartments are anywhere from $1500 upwards for the fees which of course include your food, and whatever else.

That is expensive for the average Joe Schmoe.

Medicaid (at least this is what I've been told) will only pay for nursing home care. Now I 'thought' the consultant told me after sixty days she may be able to be moved in 'assisted living' but doctor told me today that wasn't true. So, I'm getting one story from consultant, one story from lawyer, and one story from doctor, who made me feel really bad when she called today and told me that I should take my mother home because she won't be able to walk at the nursing home because of fall risks and risks of lawsuits and that is why her legs are swollen (again, see my discussion topic). She will be able to what I call 'wheelchair walk' to activities, etc., but not 'walk' walk.

The way I see it there are two options here: one, take her home and allow her to fall (since she's such a fall risk) or two: allow my mother to stay in the NH and risk the stroke factor because she's sitting all day.

Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And I'm sure at some point the nursing home will see this and find a way to deal with it. As of now, I'm stuck in a catch 22.
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Whenever there is a bad storm, the TV always reminds people to check on the elderly. So I mentally counted my neighbors, and I realized I was the eldest person on the block. And no one had been here to check on me. So that is what is happening to us baby boomers. The HMO's are doing their best to kill us off and no one is coming to check on us. Not even FEMA.
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Well these are all certainly interesting replies but I guess I was not specific enough with my question. What I was not referencing was having a "social" network, social friends do not make medical decisions. I can not see a BFF taking on the role of medical POA. And as to an attorney, well they cost money and that's assuming that they would even be around to make day to day decisions concerning whether medical needs are being met and there is no neglect occurring.
@fregflyer- I have first hand knowledge of and witness of the neglect that occurs in NH's which is something that I will never forget because I saw it with my own two eyes and this occurred in several separate facilities that were supposed to be well managed. With the exception of my mom (she now lives with me because of the NH abuse), I have had two additional extended family and a senior lady that I once cared for ALL pass away because of neglected medical issues that were not addressed in time for them to make a recovery.
@litldogtoo - Medicaid will pay for at home attendant care but they are the first to tell you they DO NOT pay for 24hr care because they assume that the family is providing family care as well. I know this first hand because this is my situation now as I care for my elderly mom of which I brought into my home 8 1/2 years ago. I am her paid attendant. However Medicaid pays so very little for this service, just a little over minimum wage and they determine based on medical condition how many hours they will pay for care, which is not enough! And because they pay so very little it is all but nearly impossible to find additional caregiver help because private pay is so much higher, finding an attendant to work for their wage is a huge obstacle. I am doing 24/7 care now for the past 3 months and trying to find part-time attendant care to help me and so far out of the 100+ resumes for caregivers that I have contacted, NONE have been interested in working for the wage that Medicaid pays.
But I have digressed. I am thinking about my future care and wondering since I am the youngest of my remaining family and assuming that I outlive them, who can I get to act as my medical/personal patient advocate when there is no family left to survive me?
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Your question has occurred to me also as I am thinking ...here i am taking good care of my elderly mother with Dementia....but doing this alone....as my brother and his wife don't feel any responsibility towards her care and they and their kids have cut me out of their lives completely. Additionally my son has already told me I can't live with him when I am old, so that leaves me in a similar situation as you feel you are in. The good advice about volunteering is good since it is forming a bond with others who will reciprocate when you need help. But if you are caring for an elderly parent right now, it can be very challenging to get out there and volunteer or work, etc. Caregiving is like being a shut in unless like one post suggested you have save a great deal of money over the years and you can write your own ticket to what happens to you. It would be horrid to die in the house or apartment alone and nobody knows until they have figured out that they haven't seen you in several months. I agree it can feel hopeless when there are no children, relatives, or finances to help you when you can no longer help yourself. I agree with the other posters that you must force yourself to get out there now while there is still time and bond with some people. God bless you.
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Kid: Please don't be afraid. This is a cold, cruel world and none of us may be the exception to it's abuses.
I am in the same boat but with a different perspective. I believe our best bet is to sign a DNR and have a friend / attorney enforce it so as not to prolong our suffering. There are patient advocates/social workers in the Hospitals but they are paid by the same Hospitals who make money on our surviving, regardless of the quality of life.
Pray much & trust your God to send the right people your way.
Best wishes.
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