Assisted Living $4,500/month, T.P. NOT INCLUDED!?

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I overheard a tough discussion last week.  A friend of mine was talking on the phone to her best girlfriend, and listening as her girlfriend (let’s call her Tara) described the horrific challenges she was dealing with in relation to her mother and the recent onset of dementia symptoms.  The symptoms, issues, and public occurrences were getting significantly worse very quickly over the course of just a few months.  First Tara’s mom had been pulled over by the police and not known where she was going, which led to the family removing her car keys (with much fighting and anger from her mother).  Then Tara’s mother had an infection due to a knee surgery that led her to need daily assistance at home.  Tara was one of three people in her mother’s life that had a legal role in the decision making for her mother’s medical and housing needs, but the final decision-maker was a personal friend of her mother’s that Tara didn’t know, and was proving to be challenging to reach and get “on the hook” for helping in this situation.

All of this struggle within the family left Tara to do the research and find her mom a place to move into that could help care for her at least until her next knee surgery to be sure she didn’t hurt herself further or wonder off in a fit of anger (which Tara was dealing with daily in “trying to do the right thing” for her mom, but which her mom wasn’t remembering each day, and was blaming Tara for everything she was asking her to do / making her do that she didn’t want to).  As Tara, in the midst of this overwhelming and relatively abrasive shift in her family dynamic, was searching and comparing facilities, she found one that seemed to be a good fit for her mom and their financial ability as well as location and services.

After a couple of days, Tara received a call from her mom (actually her mom was calling 40+ times per day on average to either complain about everything at the facility, or at times to ask where her car keys were, or even why she was there and when the cab was coming to pick her up – “I’m checking out today” she’d say to Tara – one time her mom even showed up in the lobby with her bags packed, asking where her taxi was, and Tara got the call from the front desk!)  But the call that I found most intriguing was the call that started with her mother on the other end of the line stating “What the hell?  There’s no T.P. in my room!?”  When Tara asked about this at the front desk, she was actually told that the service plan they’d selected did NOT have toiletries included.

WHAT?  Four Thousand Five Hundred dollars per month or more, and T.P. isn’t INCLUDED?  Are you KIDDING ME?  And the CCRC facilities (Continuing Care Retirement Communities – Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, etc.) wonder why they are getting a bad rap?  Really?  You seriously have to ask, with stories like THIS?

This aside (IF you can get past that story…), there is also the equally if not much larger concern of just “getting started too late” in the supply and demand equation.  There are currently about 3 million beds / units in the CCRC’s in the United States.  But guess what, there are 78 million Baby Boomers that started turning 65 at a rate of ten thousand per day as of January 2011.  How did the CCRC community and builder/developer think THAT math was going to work out in the next 2-3 decades?

So —

1) The horrific stories continue to surface related to the experiences people are having in a facility setting (read some of my other blogs, I’ve heard more of them than I can count, and they DO outweigh the positive stories & outcomes),

2) The price of a facility isn’t truly attainable or sustainable for an extended period of time for the 97 percent of us “normal people” with middle class incomes and a below average retirement account after the last 5 years of record setting economic recession,

3) The VAST majority of us don’t even WANT to live in these facility style places, 89 percent per AARP polls would prefer “Aging-in-Place” in our own homes and communities, and

4) There aren’t anywhere near enough beds to house them all anyway.  3 million beds for 78 million people?  How’s that going to pencil… 

I guess I’d better keep up my passionate activism for speaking and educating the public just as I have been for the last 3 years about how to successfully create an “Aging-in-Place” environment in our own homes.  Here at EtMM we do this via our public speaking engagements, as well as now with our national online LIVE webinars, professional interviews & podcasts, white papers, newsletters and such. (If you want to be kept up to date on what is happening at EtMM – and a LOT of things are happening – simply sign up for our newsletter on the right hand side of our web site pages!)

We just had a LIVE National Experts panel WEBINAR with four name-recognized national thought leaders in this industry space last week, talking to our attendees about how to “Reach and Connect with the Boomer Consumer”.  The event was a huge success, and if you missed it live, it will be available on our site as an audio/video (with written transcript as well) for purchase very soon!  We also are in the final editing of our FIRST BOOK on how to succeed at “Aging-in-Place”!  That will be available as an E-book and also a paperback at Amazon, formatted for your Kindle, etc.  And we co-host a weekly internet radio show called “Encore Living” about all things that make your “second half” the best it can be!  So sign up with us so you can plug in and stay tuned in with all the exciting things we are doing here at EtMM in the months ahead.

I sincerely think, although we have spent a fair bit of time educating the public about their options (because we are PASSIONATE about the topic and want our clients to get what THEY want), that it’s only a matter of time before I’ll be needing to staff up at EtMM and ADM Architecture, to meet the needs of our nation in designing for remodeling our homes to pro-actively plan a design for our home environment that leads to successful “Aging-In-Place”, lasting independence and freedom, and happy loved ones.

Thank you for reading our blog, and being a part of our rapidly growing online community.  We’ll continue to bring you great value in your relationship with us at EtMM in both our free online resources, as well as the paid products like our webinars and books that are starting to roll out here in the second half of 2013.  Stay tuned, stay with us, and stay plugged in – you’ll be glad you did!

We’ll be here for you when it’s your turn to tackle this care giving challenge we are all facing already now, or will face in our own family with our loved ones (parents / partners / siblings) in the years ahead.

Resource Credits:
AARP Poll: 
CCRC beds vs. Baby Boomers: 
Photo Credits: 
Dementia Woman –
Crowd of People ––april-23-crowd-of-people-watch-as-the-dance-performance-during-national-sovereignty-and-ch.html
No Vacancies –
Empty TP Holder –


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