Growing Older

Lately I’ve been spending time with my dad to get his medical benefits together. There are so many penalties and fines for older people that it amazes me. You get penalized if you don’t renew your Medi-Care in time. They count each month that you’ve “lapsed” and add the fines onto your monthly payment for the rest of your enrollment time. There are many parts to Medi-Care, and they expire at different times. Once you reached the maximum allowances (not your co pay but their cost of the medicine that you purchased) on medications, you are required to pay up to 50% out-of-pocket for the retail price. Sadly, that could add up quickly, depending on if you buy generics or not. Kaiser Senior Advantage Plan is part of Medi-Care and they have all these penalties on our older members because they can. They claimed it was the law/rule of Medi-Care. So, I ask you…How does one know how the system work if no one ever explains it? It’s like me getting my non-English speaking patients to sign consent form for treatment. It doesn’t stand up in court. It’s illegal. I am fluent in English and I don’t understand everything that I read or explained to me. If you start talking about board circuitry or directions, I’m lost. Next! You know what I mean? Just tell me left or right, not north, east, south or west. So for most older people, medical verbiage is foreign. It seems so careless.
My dad was forced into retirement because his company went bankrupt. He wanted to work and be active, chat with friends, have a reason to leave the house, etc. When he retired, he called me three times a day for weeks, asking me if I wanted to have lunch with him. I declined 99% of the time. Then I finally booked him multiple vacation packages to hang out with his friends in different states, Hawaii included. Then he started to come by my office with lunch for me and the girls. He was that bored! He wants to go back to school but he maxed out on his community college units. San Jose State University is too expensive at approximately $100/unit. He now wants to help my father-in-law trim my yard. Yes, my father-in-law is also my gardner because he, too, is bored and needs something to do. FYI…we hired my father-in-law to be our gardner so we can mow the lawn, trim the bushes, rake the leaves, etc. This is the martyrdom of being son/daughter. We will continue to do this as long as my husband doesn’t complain about mowing the lawn or trimming the bushes and my back/arms/legs don’t give out raking the leaves or trimming the hedges. Or, I continue to have extension cords that I can accidentally cut into. The joy of having “help” from our parents.