Rosaries of worries

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

 “I am 88 years old. I have worked full time since I was 16. My wife and I were married for 61 years until she died in January. I spent the last six years and most of our savings taking care of her because she had dementia and heart problems. Our children live in California and Texas. I worry about who will take care of me if I should get really sick and need help.”
 Thomas Pittsburgh, PA March 24, 2011

This post is one of 40 in “One Away: Campaign for Elder Economic Security,” a website (http://www.oneaway.org) recently created to show the struggles to make ends meet in older age to members of Congress. Why do we need to collect stories to convince public officials of the uncertainty of living alone in older age with limited support?

 Thomas Pittsburg’s paragraph reminds me of the article “In Their Own Words: Thousands of Life Stories From California’s Aged, Blind, and Disabled on How They Would Be Devastated by Budget Cuts ” that would affect the availability of in-home care aides published in the California Progress Report in 2008 with paragraphs like these:

 Jakob Atlas:” If there are going to be more cuts of hours I will not be able to be at home, but it will be necessary to move to a nursing home. Being 89 years old with many health problems […]. In this health condition life is very difficult and not having the needed help, life is impossible. Working all my life and paying taxes…deserve to be provided with the full help. ”

John Williams:” I barely make it through the way as it already is. And there are almost no doctors left who will take Medi-Cal… I am in a wheelchair and need much assistance with daily chores. Any more cuts will be the end of me and many more like me.”

Joe Nucatola:” If I had no IHSS [in-home care]  service, I would be eating oatmeal and beans only. No hot meals + laundry and hundreds of assorted things my worker does. And as I get sicker I will need her even more. Please don’t take from such a good program.”

 Jacob, John, and Joe were three of the 4,700 users of in-home services that wrote against the impending cuts to the system under solicitation of the local IHSS management in San Francisco. That was two years ago, but the threats of cuts is still there.

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