Age, Illness, and Muddling Through

  A fundamental problem with our current
health care system is that its measure of success
is the delay of death, rather than the quality of life. 

— Ai-hen Poo 
from The Age of Dignity:
Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America 


Age and illness consume me.

And that's not a bad thing. My attention, and my reading, is centered around calls for change.*

With health care in general it seems we're muddling through, hoping our leaders will choose the least cruel of options. To that quagmire, add the  "silver tsunami" and we're in a real mire. Medicine, health insurance, hospital visits, long-term care, assisted living, home care — these costs add up, and quick!  Even if you've saved, you can't save enough.

Am I scaring you? I'm overwhelmed too. 

I've seen the physical and emotional impact that sickness and aging has on individuals and families. In my work at the nursing home, and in my own family, we wrestle with questions that have no good answers: what's covered? what's not? who pays? how much? What, really, is quality of life? Who decides? 

There are no rules. Each situation, just like each family, is nuanced with its own needs and expectations. Feeling adrift, I turn to books (again and always), for direction, solace, suggestions: 

Here are a few — each very different in tone and style — that I've found helpful:  

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Bettyville: A Memoir 

How the Medicaid Debate Affects Long-Term Care Decisions from Your Money - The New York Times


Your turn: Are you confronting these issues? What's helped? What hasn't? 


* Sidenote: I'm healthy! Everyone else is falling apart. (kidding) (not kidding).