Blog

Unlikely Accomplices

Bruno Koch, 83, told the telemarketer on the line that, yes, of course he would like to update his health insurance card. Then Mr. Koch, of Newport News, Va., slipped up: he divulged his bank account information. What happened next is all too familiar. Money was withdrawn from Mr. Koch’s account for something that he(…)

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Something Afoot in the Nursing Home

Clever title, Sue Halpern. Not only does “A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home” accurately describe your story, in which your Labradoodle becomes a certified therapy dog and the two of you start spending Tuesdays at a public nursing home in Vermont, but you’ve also recognized that while readers don’t really cotton to books about(…)

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Empathy Without Boundaries

Jean McFee Raichle, 94, is a remarkably cheerful woman. She lives in an assisted living center in Seattle staffed by aides who are warm and nurturing. She exists in the moment, mostly untroubled by her Alzheimer’s disease. Only once in the past several years has her daughter, Marilyn Raichle, witnessed her become alarmed. That was(…)

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Part D, Without Paying a Dime

Here’s a nonhypothetical question: If an older person without much money could receive prescription drug insurance — i.e. Medicare Part D — at no cost, why wouldn’t he apply? Both Medicare and the Social Security Administration have tried to spread the word, to tell low-income seniors about a government-subsidized Part D program called Extra Help,(…)

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The Family Caregiver Turns Pro

Everyone who thinks about the so-called work force problem for the elderly can see big trouble coming. Who’s going to provide care for the growing number of old people who, even with enormous efforts from family members, will most likely need more help? Or who don’t have families? And who prefer, overwhelmingly, to stay in(…)

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Trapped in the Hospital Bed

Assume that Cynthia Brown’s audience, as she addressed the American Geriatrics Society’s annual scientific meeting in Texas this month, already knew that hospitalized older adults spend too much time in bed. Her listeners — geriatricians, nurses, administrators — had probably observed for themselves how quickly elderly patients become deconditioned, how even a few days of(…)

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What Not to Say at the Bedside

Having breast cancer four years ago taught Letty Cottin Pogrebin, 73, a lot about being a good friend to someone who is sick. Some people knew how to strike just the right note, offering love and support without hovering. Others rubbed her nerves raw with excessive solicitousness when all she wanted was to be left(…)

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DNR by Another Name

“I’d like to bring you up to speed on what’s going on,” the doctor said. He had a red goatee and was wearing a white coat. He said that my father had pneumonia and needed a “breathing machine,” and that he also had sepsis and acute lung injury. “The statistics are not too good,” he(…)

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V.A. Warns Aging Veterans Against ‘Pension Poachers’

If you’ve applied for the Aid and Attendance benefit from Department of Veterans Affairs — which can provide as much as $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse for caregiving expenses — then you are all too familiar with some of the reasons for the typical 8-to-18-month delays in getting an answer from the V.A.(…)

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After the Denial Letter Arrives

If you’ve been rejected for the Department of Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance (AA) benefit, there are steps you can take to get your application reconsidered. But first, a warning: Do not do what the V.A. denial letter suggests you do, as that may only bring you years more of delays. And second, you’ll need(…)

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