While people may be paying attention to the latest issue of US News and World that is trumpeting the graying of America, my radar is focused elsewhere. The report is very comprehensive in how it sorts out a ranking of states on metrics important to aging in place. You can scan the list looking to see how your state treats its older citizens and what your future might hold. The fact is many of us have already established where our graying heads will spend our golden years.
The criteria are rather diverse, nursing home quality and cost of care, how well medicare works and about a dozen other categories, you can read here: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2017-10-11/aging-in-america-how-states-are-grappling-with-a-growing-elderly-population
I have some arguments in the way the rankings come together. A state is ranked higher if you have a larger portion of residents over 65. Yet Colorado ranks first despite the fact it has a lower percentage of seniors (10%) yet has all the other bell and whistles? Maine is up there in best states even tough it has a higher percentage of older seniors. I have written before about Maine’s progressive approach, perhaps a necessity when your senior population has been higher than average for a long time and climbing.
Where I really want to point a giant LOOK OVER HERE arrow is to a well written, well researched article in The New Yorker on how Nevada had allowed their public guardianship program for seniors to grow totally out of control. It is a chilling tale. The elderly were so much prey to be sorted out, robbed of their rights and their property. I literally became nauseous reading this long piece that describes a system where a non professional can apply to be a public guardian then collude with medical authorities to deem vulnerable individuals not competent. They were literally marching seniors off to assisted living and as they sold their possessions to pay for their own fees. Caring relatives were bypassed and then held in contempt when they tried to undo what the courts had done. It is a long bitter tale well told by the journalist who brings it a righteous conclusion.
Such cautionary tales are important. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-rights. Why? ” A Government Accountability report from 2010 said, “We could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, state or local entity, or any other organization that compiles comprehensive information on this issue.” There is no listing for how states deal with this.
Public guardianship will balloon as a vital issue as the senior population grows and grows. Once granted, guardianship is basically an irreversible action unless extraordinary steps are taken as this article so poignantly portrays. The guardianship issue is now on my watch list to learn how to spot / stop a potential cottage industry that exploits the rights of seniors.