Here [in the U.S.], Medicare Part D eliminated coverage (up until $3,000 and then beyond $6,000, called a “doughnut hole”). They cut medication in half. Some people don’t take their medication or they give up food. In America, there are 47 million people without insurance. We need to make the first step [for change] and then other steps are made. When Social Security and Medicare were born there were many fights, yet they are very successful and life-saving programs.
How should a person and family prepare for placement in a nursing home or another senior living venue?
Prepare yourself ahead of time…Know what’s available. If you don’t use it, you don’t need it. Make sure it offers amenities and programs that the person likes. If there’s a synagogue, meet the rabbi. Make an agreement that the home is for a month’s trial. That way a person might be more receptive, knowing he or she is involved in the decision
How do you talk with a person who has Alzheimer’s or shows signs of confusion?
Often, when talking with people with Alzheimer’s one assumes they don’t understand. Let’s go on the assumption that they do. When speaking with them, don’t talk down to them.
Instead of saying, “You want to do something,” say “Would you like to do something?” Talk on an eye level. Don’t speak loudly. Not every elderly person is deaf.
You say in your book, “We are at a turning point in our society.” What do you mean?
The demographic structure is changing. We are senior heavy. We have to accommodate them. These baby boomers are voters. The politicians are open to their needs. We should use this power to achieve better living conditions and better services.
What benefits do seniors get from volunteering?
They see that they are still active and contributing members of society. They have so much knowledge and time. When you work, your schedule is set. Now [in retirement] your schedule is flexible. This can be very joyful. In volunteering, the sense of satisfaction is greater then when you work for pay, for there you have to.
How has working with the elderly, in your own words, “enriched” your life and taught you “a great deal?”
Very few professions will provide you with such a sense of satisfaction in making a difference to another human being. I’m very lucky. I’ve learned that life is precious and that we owe it to ourselves to protect the elderly and give back to them, because they gave…to us.”
Do you have any concluding words?
Aging can be a very positive process and if you’re safe and protected you can age well.
Dr. Mor is an epidemiologist and specialist in gerontology and health-care management and she has worked with the elderly for 23 years in long-term facilities, acute-care hospitals and centers for chronic disease.
The book is available from Barnes and Noble bookstores and on Amazon (online). Also, you can order the book by calling the publisher at 888/280-7715, ext. 5022. More information is available at www.goldenyearsgolden.com