Mary was concerned that she would soon need nursing home care. She did not want her funds used up in long term care expenses so she gave her only son, Joe, her life savings of $100,000. One year after giving Joe the money Mary experienced a major health crisis and needed to move into a nursing home.
In my years of working with elders, and I shudder to think how many that has added up to, I’ve had the privilege of working with many elders. Some were people born before 1900, who invented things like plastic wrap and lunch bags, who participated in the creation of the first nuclear power plant, and who grew up during the great depression. Others told me they remembered the first television shows watched on a neighborhood black and white television.
One day, when I was a teenager living with my mother, a single parent, she said, “Promise me you will never put me in a nursing home!” She said this immediately after reading a news story about a bad nursing home. I thought she was being a little over dramatic but, of course made the promise.
Years ago all attorneys, it seemed, kept their clients’ original wills and estate planning documents in a vault in the office. But at that time most people lived in the same house or town until they died. Today, people are so much more mobile, moving from one community to another, and one state to another, even late in life.
One of the misconceptions about the very frail and old is that they were all good, kind people. Sadly that is not necessarily the case. Mean people live long and get old every bit as much as nice people. Some of those people were bad parents; very bad parents.