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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

LTCI Watch: Luxury Alzheimer's

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The New York Times has come out with 10 pages of award bait: “Fraying at the Edges,” an article by N.R. Kleinfield about Geri Taylor’s experiences with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Taylor is a nurse who has been a health care executive. Part of her job involved overseeing home health care programs.

It’s a fine, well-written article, and anyone involved with long-term care (LTC) planning has to read it.

See also: LTCI Watch: What you read

I started it, in the print version, feeling a sense of terror that I was about to be schooled on long-term care insurance (LTCI) by a New York Times genius with five Ivy League degrees and a very close relationship with Stephen Hawking.

I read, and I read, and never found the word “insurance.”

Kleinfield uses the word “money” twice: once to note that Las Vegas, a city Taylor visited, “eats money without pity,” and again to report that Taylor and other members of a dementia support group sometimes had trouble with paying for purchases, and with writing checks.

In an article that fills more than 50 square feet of newsprint, Kleinfield includes one paragraph about how Taylor and her husband, who had an apartment in New York City and a vacation house in Connecticut, handled LTC finance basics:

“They were comfortable financially, but the disease can rapidly devour resources toward the end. Ms. Taylor didn’t want to be institutionalized but knew it could happen. In time, they would revise their wills, shielding some assets for their children.”

Maybe Taylor did have private LTCI, or considered buying it and had interesting and insightful reasons for not buying LTCI. But the reporter doesn’t even mention that the product exists.

The reporter barely even mentions that Alzheimer’s disease causes financial problems.

In other words: The idea of having luxury Alzheimer’s, a disease robbing us of the ability to recognize our own face in the mirror, while we continue to drink good cappuccino and think of paying the electric bill as a minor nuisance, is scary, in a readable way.

The idea of a disease causing us to lose any ability whatsoever to have a middle-class lifestyle, with some choice about where we live, is too horrifying for New York Times readers to contemplate. We can think about a bomb blowing up 1,000 people on a street in Syria without any problem. But if we have to try to think about living strapped to a bed in a gloomy, cavernous ward, with orderlies who might, or might not, come by occasionally to feed us and turn us over? Well that flirts with the unfathomable.

If we have to stop to think that maybe we should spend a little cash on private LTCI or other private LTC planning arrangements rather than gourmet cheese, gourmet wine and lake houses, that’s really, really, really hard to comprehend. Why would anyone want to read about that?

See also: 

LTCI Watch: $400

LTCI Watch: Drowning


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