If you have followed this blog, you know that because of certain incidents about five years ago, I became unprepared to take care of myself financially as I would like. It has occurred to me just recently that I am also unprepared for a life when I cannot take care of myself at all. I have no children or relatives that would step up to help me “carry on” an independent life. BUT I also have not prepared since my illness for a life that is not independent.
I am living in a place where poor older people move to live independently. Some have relatives that can be called in when there is an emergency, but there are others who are alone as I am. However, they are farther along that road than I am and it is so pitiful to see what happens to them at the end of their lives. Many are really too ill to be living in an independent community and too poor to have “services” provided for them, although I have researched this and most states do provide help for the truly indigent older person through Medicaid.
My question is this. For those of us who are below poverty level but not low enough to qualify for state or federal help, what can we do? There is not much spare change to pad that extended care insurance policy to take care of me when I cannot. I do not even have one now; I could not afford it when I became ill and had to cancel it.
The only we way I can be “prepared” for that life at the end is to lower my income. I read that you can lower it with medical expenses; I guess when the time comes I can quit using generics and go to name brands. That should set me back quite a bit in the expenses department because I take many medications. Also, I guess I would need to have another terrible bout with illness and several hospital stays to increase those medical expenses even more.
I am going to continue to research and try to figure out a way to survive to very old age, if I am lucky enough to live to one. Maybe I can find an answer. What really upsets me, though, is that I have worked my whole life, earning fair wages and sometimes much higher ones. I did not quit work until my health caused me to do so, but because I have worked, I now draw too much money to get adequate care. If I had not worked at all and had not earned any Social Security at all, I am afraid that I would be better cared for. I find this very sad, not only for me, but for others who find themselves “unprepared,” as I do.