Ethel died last weekend. She lived by me. I tried to visit her as much as I could. She lived on social security. that's all she had...about $400 a month. She loved her apartment. She had a small garden. She started working when she was 16 years old. After she retired she volunteered for services to the elderly and ran a meal program.
She was 89 when she died. Up until a few months she had senior services. She suffered from light dementia and could not remember everything. But she could remember that the biggest fear of her life was that she would end up in a nursing home. She had a lady who came several times a week to help clean, cook meals and help her get to her doctors appointments. She was doing well.
Her senior services were cut. She hired a private pay helper. She could only afford to pay someone to shop and cook for her. The lady would not clean take her to doctor appoinments. Ethel could not afford that. She started feeling bad a month or so ago. She told everyone that she was doing fine. She was afraid to go to the doctor because she was afraid she would be put in a nursing home. Her long-time caregiver who she lost, would have been able to comfort her and would have taken her to the doctor.
I went to see her a couple of times in the last week and took her food. Her apartment was a mess. I called Adult protective services and they promised me they would go and see her. That was over a week ago. I also knew her helper was going to come and see her the next day. I went to see her last Friday and no one had come. She had been in bed for several days without water or food. I called an ambulance. They took her to the hospital. She died the next day. She had advanced cancer. She must have suffered terribly for those last days.
There are very few senior services left. Most of the social workers who worked in Adult Protective services have been laid off. The services Ethel had probably cost the state $100 a month. A nursing home cost $3,500 a month. If she could have found one that would take Medicaid. Many nursing homes won't take Medicaid because they say the government will not pay enough to cover all the costs.
The generation that are our elders now helped to build the infrastructure that we use daily. Everytime you drive on a road, enter a school building, visit a hospital, drink water from your faucet provided provided by a dam, you use the services provided by the elderly. Now, they are losing the last support society offered after a life of hard work and great societial support. What happened to us. We have gone mad. My heart is breaking.