It’s Midnight – Where is Your Mom or Dad?

It's Midnight - Where is Your Mom or Dad?

By: Caesi Bevis, Healthcare Lobbyist, Principal, Crisis Coaching

Tonight is in the high 40's. That's not bad if you are indoors. But - is your Mom or Dad sleeping outside under a bridge? In a car in a parking lot? It's cold outside. Running a vehicle heater can cost $10 a night. Not turning on the heater might be life threatening.

This is the new "aging in place."

Usually when we think of "aging in place" we talk about parents, Mom and/ or Dad, wanting to grow old at their existing address. They fear change or moving in with strangers into an assisted living facility. What if they don't like the staff? What if they don't like their roommate? What happens if there is a rent increase they can't afford? What if they just don't like the place?

"Sending someone in" - hired - to help with Mom or Dad may be affordable for some families. For many, the reality is Medicare might cover two shifts, but family or friends are supposed to pick up the slack and provide services for free for the other 8-10 hours each day. When family is not available, or too far away (or both), then who does the senior rely on? 75% of seniors and elderly in assisted living are there because they did not have family support in that form. Worse, family has abandoned them once the parent was deposited into assisted living. The others went on with their busy lives of holding down multiple jobs and creating additional passive income to keep children in magnet schools, or special courses after school to help them be the best they can be.

Still other seniors and elderly, do not have family. Parents may have died and maybe they did not have children.

Record numbers of seniors and elderly are calling their license plate: "aging in place." Others have borrowed a shopping cart to carry what remaining personal belongings they still have. This is causing a challenge for insurance companies to licensing offices because they want to package Americans in neat little boxes and when someone does not fit the norm, the easy answer for a customer service person is to deny a request to continue insurance, or issue a license.

Many of you may have heard about a gas leak we had out here in Greater LA, in an area called Porter Ranch. Thousands were displaced in fall 2015 due to the gas leak. It was awful - and smelly (like rotten eggs)!

As of 2009, a statistic I found online, according to the California Labor Market 9.6% of Californians are self-employed. Roughly 10% of Americans work from home. So, somewhere between 9.6% and 10% probably are the number of Porter Ranch people  (2290+ families) who were displaced for months living in extended stay hotels, until the clean up was supposedly completed.

Do you know if these people went to a nearby community - they would not have been able to get a business license to continue self-employment because they did not have a home? This has to be one of the craziest policies I have seen on the books: If you address if your license plate, displaced for any reason from socially acceptable housing, then you can lose or not take out a business license for self employment.

If society is reluctant to hire seniors and elderly, let alone those who call a parking lot of bridge "home," then there only recourse may to be self-employed - and I believe it is unfair that they could be fined if not properly licensed. It's circular reference. My stand: You cannot fine someone for not having a business license, when that person would be denied a business license, and no one else is offering employment.

So - back to Mom or Dad aging in place behind the wheel...I first heard of this about 2013, shortly after my father died. My friend's parent announced she was hitting the road with her van and a hitched up trailer because she refused to live in the type of housing that was all she could afford. I thought there must be another way...but there was not. Adult children were not in a position to help. Meanwhile, as I can be a bit of an ostrich...I did not realize how close this scenario would be on my doorstep, too. At that time I had one house too many I needed to sell to close our estate bills, and get ready to move from a leased unit. We are four years later, and she is still surfing from one place to another, not ready to go to assisted living.

Then as I have traveled doing Trip Advisor reviews, I had found many seniors and elderly "parked" in long term stay hotels by family who knew it would be cheaper than assisted living. Assisted living on the low end is $1400/ month, and normally $3800-$5,000/ month and if the resident needs extra services, it can sale to $8,000/ month for memory care.  Presently, long term stay hotels run from $2200/ month to $4000/ month and  cruises are even cheaper and include meals.

Conclusion:

As Americans we need to be aware of the future for our parents. If we adult children are not available to help cover costs, a reverse mortgage on a family home might help, but that can leave a younger spouse homeless when the primary person leaves - if the younger spouse is under 62. There is a lot of fine print around reverse mortgages - it is not a perfect solution to many if they read the fine print. Reporting to the loan funder is one problem - as people age, keeping up accounting and reporting to a lender may start being a problem and the home can be lost.

Reality here are the options for Aging in America:

Independent Living (includes extended stays and cruises)

Assisted Living or Memory Care

Aging in Place and bring in hired help (or family)

Transient  - moved from relative to relative and sometimes in a hotel giving the family respite

Transient in and out of hotels, and sometimes in a vehicle

In a vehicle full time

Living in the street full time

OR

Hired to be a live in grandpa / grandma for a family (salary + place to live)

Hired to property manage  (apartments, condos, small hotel, or storage units)

"You are NOT a Member of MY Family"

Americans more and more do not "adopt" their neighbors.

I grew up in a neighborhood where neighbors watched out for each other. If someone needed something, neighbors were there for each other. if seniors and elderly lived alone, neighbors invited them over and they could count on several invitations for holiday meals.

Today, people with families rudely push away adult only children seniors and elderly claiming that the senior or elderly person is trying to poach on their family. Instead of opening doors, they slam doors shut  and bolt the door.

I am so glad these people are not alive today - they might be taking a parking spot overnight at a local department store lot.

It's midnight - do you know where your parents and older relatives are sleeping tonight? If not, you may be able to do something about it.

Aging WITHOUT a place...think about it. Is it your future, or that of a loved one?

No one really knows how to be homeless. It's one area of training most people never think they will need.

 

 

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Caesi Bevis, Author / Speaker Bio

Bevis Consulting

Bevis Consulting

Principal of Bevis Consulting. I am a Futurist, Research Writer, Public Speaker, Voice Over Professional, Consultant, and Expert Witness with over 20+ years background in competitive intelligence, market research, and 13+ years in legislation research and consulting in both the U.S. and Canada. My marketing expertise in recent years includes social network and Internet marketing. I am the former President of the Canadian Business Intelligence Association. My PhD coursework is in Human Behavior Leadership, with an MBA with an International Finance focus, BBA with core courses in Marketing and AA in Advertising Design.

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