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Old 12-10-2009, 08:10 AM
 
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How does Maine treat its elderly? I think neighbors in rural areas tend to watch out for one another, but I'm unsure how good the State is in providing assistance where needed The issues in this very thoughtful NY Times article give much to think about, since many of the challenges faced by the elderly living in rural areas are universal.

As we age and our children live afar, the question for those of us who want to remain in place is how to make that practical and possible. One thing that has always impressed me about rural Maine,unlike so many other areas of the country, is that the kids seems to stay. You have people living in the same areas who have lived there for generations, and who go on to raise new families who also stay (or come back). Alas, that isn't true of everyone.

Anyway, here's the link to the article I"m talking about:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/us...l.html?_r=1&hp
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,532 posts, read 14,348,860 times
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Actually, most young people leave for a couple of decades and when they have saved enough to make it here they come home at the age of 45 or so. The often stated theme is that Maine exports studs, spuds and kids. That is why we are the oldest state. We passed Florida about 3 years ago. It isn't because, like Florida, people come here to retire. It's because our young adults are somewhere else.

That said, we do look out for each other. The local snowmobile club put up one widow's wood for years so she could live out her years in her own home.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,450,140 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcberry View Post
How does Maine treat its elderly? I think neighbors in rural areas tend to watch out for one another, but I'm unsure how good the State is in providing assistance where needed The issues in this very thoughtful NY Times article give much to think about, since many of the challenges faced by the elderly living in rural areas are universal.

As we age and our children live afar, the question for those of us who want to remain in place is how to make that practical and possible. One thing that has always impressed me about rural Maine,unlike so many other areas of the country, is that the kids seems to stay. You have people living in the same areas who have lived there for generations, and who go on to raise new families who also stay (or come back). Alas, that isn't true of everyone.

Anyway, here's the link to the article I"m talking about:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/10/us...l.html?_r=1&hp

An excellent article. I have recent personal experience with Maine as a place for the elderly, as I was the caregiver to my elderly parents who died a year and a half ago at age 93 and 90. They died in their own home in their own way, and Dad stopped driving about eight months prior to his passing. They had the resources to pay for 24/7 in home care and went through most of it in their last few years of life. For others without some individual financial security, Maine is a hard place.

Maine has one plan only for the care of people who can't live on their own, and that is the nursing home system. There is no provision for Mainers to remain in their own home which might be far less expensive per day than living in a nursing home, which is enormously expensive. Once the personal funds are exhausted, the State pays for nursing home care until the resident dies, then the resident's property goes to the state to pay off the bill. Unless people have given away everything three years before becoming ill, the State of Maine ends up being the beneficiary of whatever wealth the elderly have accrued. Most people in Maine cannot afford nursing home insurance so if they live to a ripe old age, their bequest will not be to their children, but to the State.

Maine in general clings to the idea that we can have a nice, bright and shiny elementary school at every crossroad, which means that the residential property taxes must continually rise to support public education. Much of Maine has refused for a variety of reasons, to allow true industrial growth, to the entire cost of government must be borne by the residential property tax payer. This in turn means that those who are living on family property, perhaps in the family for generations, are faced with ever increasing property taxes which as they age, the elderly may not be able to afford. Thus "family" land is all to often sold off and lost to family further eroding, not only the welfare of the elderly, but the entire family structure as well.

My parents utilized the hospice program in their country, and because they had preplanned for the eventuality of their deaths, they got to do it all exactly as they wanted to do it...except for living far longer than they ever thought they would. But the hospice programs in each county are always struggling for funding, and are often misunderstood by people who have no real experience dealing with the elderly and the fact of dying as a part of life. This weakens the ability of seniors to live in dignity.

There is a decided unevenness in Augusta toward the true welfare of the people in Maine in general, and the elderly are handled in general, poorly. It is better and worse in other states.

Augusta's nursing home regulations are based and controlled by the nursing home industry, and not for service to the elderly. When my father suffered his second heart attack and went to rehab in a skilled nursing facility, the nearest available bed was in Ellsworth, 45 miles away. He was there about a month before returning home. Had my sister and I not been available and in the area, my 90 year old Mother would not have had to visit him during his rehab. The biggest issue with all of this is the regulated size of nursing homes and the number of beds that state law allows them to have. In point of fact, my Father did not need to be in a nursing home at all, but some sort of half way house that could have been available at one half the daily rate would have been sufficient. Medicare and Maine's insurance plans do not provide for anything except for nursing homes at their elevated rates.

If Augusta is truly going to address the needs of its citizens, then the entire issue of elder care needs to be revamped and restructured to reflect the facts of Maine's people's ages.

Right now, Maine isn't doing a very good job.
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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I think Maine does an alright job with the elderly, but to be honest with you, I think a lot of that has to do with the rough and tumble elderly people we have.

My Grandmother is dying of cancer and still lives alone, in part to family helping her out, and in part to the state providing a nurse to stop in daily. The latter is nice...

But the real reason she can stay by herself is MAINE RESIDENTS ARE SO STUBBORN THEY REFUSE TO LEAVE. If you can convince my grandmother to leave, go ahead and try...it won't work. She is ready to die...her words, not mine. But this is a woman that has lived through the depression with her widowed mother who had 7 children...all girls in a time when they did not work...they didn't get welfare back then either. Then she turned around and was fully self sufficient on her farm...something the yuppies of today talk about, but could never really do.

Of course that shaped her what she is today...very frugal so she can take the $416 dollars the state gives her for social security a MONTH and make it last. I know its low, but farm wives didn't make a lot of money working in a canning factory a few weeks a year. Personally I think it is a severe kick in the chin...she fed this nation for 70 years and gets treated lower then whale poo with a social security check to match, while the 20 something lame and lazy of this state make more money and complain they aren't making enough. I can't wait to see how these 20 year olds think they are going to make it when they are her age.

As I said, I think the state treats the elderly alright simply because the elderly of Maine do not ask for much in return. Once this generation is gone, do not look for that again. The baby-boomers and beyond are all asking the same question, "what more can I get?"

(Note: I am darn proud of my grandparent's generation and will not apologize for what is written above. The people of today want everything what they earned over a lifetime...now...and society wonders why we are debt-ridden to a fault. Instead we are turning into a socialist country instead of looking to our Maine Elderly people as inspiration...sad, sad, sad.)
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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Well said, BrokenTap.
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Old 12-10-2009, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Corinth, ME
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrokenTap View Post


As I said, I think the state treats the elderly alright simply because the elderly of Maine do not ask for much in return. Once this generation is gone, do not look for that again. The baby-boomers and beyond are all asking the same question, "what more can I get?"

(Note: I am darn proud of my grandparent's generation and will not apologize for what is written above. The people of today want everything what they earned over a lifetime...now...and society wonders why we are debt-ridden to a fault. Instead we are turning into a socialist country instead of looking to our Maine Elderly people as inspiration...sad, sad, sad.)
Tap, I have to agree with you. Working in the store, I see generations of Mainers and transplants as well -- of all ages -- and without knowing their family histories or even their names in some cases, first names at best in others -- I know I am seeing what you speak of.

I am not sure I would draw the line where you do, though, as I see a difference between my generation (immediate post-war Boomers) and those born later in the Boom years (1946 to 1964 as per many sources).

The old Mainers and post-war Boomers in my community seem to share the work ethic, frugality and "stubbornness" with which you characterize your mom. Even the disabled Vets, it seems, still work at some sort of trade at least part time and many of the elders (15+ years my senior) could likely out work me -- and I can still out-work many of the young'uns even doing physical labor. And they do it day in and day out... farming, logging.. you name it. HARD work, not desk jobs.

I expect to live where I have planted myself until they day it's time to plant me in the garden and I am glad to know that there will have been many footsteps to follow, here.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:31 PM
 
Location: Waldo County
1,220 posts, read 3,450,140 times
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With all due respect forlks, if you haven't dealt with the issues of the elderly first hand, you have no idea what you are talking about.

In the 1980's my uncle placed my aunt into a nursing home because her Alzheimers disease had progressed to the point that she was becoming dangerous in her own home, and my uncle could no longer manage her. She went to a very nice nursing home in Rockland. She did not need to be in a nursing home at that point, but that was all that was available. What would have been better for her was a locked door assisted living facility, which was a kind of facility not available in Maine.

My uncle continued to spend winters in Florida until he told me that he "never wanted to be cold again."
I arranged for his wife to be in Ft. Myers nearby so he could visit her whenever he wanted to, which he did until she died.

My uncle continued to live in his condominium until his pacemaker required replacement, and after that there was little question of his living alone. I helped him to move to an assisted living facility where he spent almost a year. The facility that he was living in provided all meals and basic asstance with some living needs, but had an open door so that my uncle could do whatever he wanted during the days. It cost about one forth the cost of a nursing home.

After a while, he could no longer be alone, and required a different kind of facility, and this time one that had locked doors. Still he didn't need a nursing home, but needed assistance with daily living, and protection from some of the less attactive features of the outside world. He was there until he fell in the bathroom fracturing his collar bone. The setting of the collar bone was successful, but he died that night in the hospital.

All of his care and that of my aunt was paid for by his own money. Had they both been in Maine they would have both ended up ONLY in a nursing home at three times the cost. For them there was no discussion of state of Federal aid aside from Medicare, since they could afford to do what they did. However had they had a bit less money, they would have been in a nursing home and on state aid at time of death.

My Mother and Father were healthy pretty much well into their nineties. Not many people are no matter how much talk about the "hardy" Mainers we like to throw around. Once the decline of old age sets in, there is little service that the state can provide, and if family resources and help isn't nearby, an awful lot of elderly live in quiet despiration in their own homes because there is NO other way for them to live. In other states there are more and better facilities, and much of what Maine doesn't offer could be remedied by a separate system of care that would enable the establishment of insured assisted living facilities, rather than having end of life aid being provided only by nursing homes.
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:55 PM
 
Location: 43.55N 69.58W
3,231 posts, read 6,551,847 times
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Originally Posted by Acadianlion View Post
My Mother and Father were healthy pretty much well into their nineties. Not many people are no matter how much talk about the "hardy" Mainers we like to throw around. Once the decline of old age sets in, there is little service that the state can provide, and if family resources and help isn't nearby, an awful lot of elderly live in quiet despiration in their own homes because there is NO other way for them to live. In other states there are more and better facilities, and much of what Maine doesn't offer could be remedied by a separate system of care that would enable the establishment of insured assisted living facilities, rather than having end of life aid being provided only by nursing homes.
Or... the purchase of decent Long Term health care policy, of which most elderly Mainers don't know exists nor could afford one if they did know.
Still, most of the elderly would rather die at home in a peaceful, quiet, comfortable surrounding than in the sterile or (not so much) sterile environment with strangers at their bedsides.

There are a few, very few, decent assisted living facilities in Maine. Most of them are in southern Maine.

Yes, Maine has work to do.
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Old 12-10-2009, 10:49 PM
 
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I think you should take care of your parents until they die. We put in a bedroom with a TV, put handles on the bathtub and made my Mom as comfortable here as we could during her last year. She was not a burden, she was my Mom! She died with dignity here in my home with all of her family here. Yes we cried, yes the kids saw death , but you know what??... they are better people for it and understand a lot more about life than the people who shove granny into the nursing home and just show up for the funeral!
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Old 12-10-2009, 11:07 PM
 
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Both Maineah and Acadianlion are such wonderful sons!

I feel quite fortunate and privileged to be cyber friends with them!
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