08 November 2006

So-Called Care For The Elderly

I know house clearance, enough to know that whats not fit for auction gets dumped, and the boys on the van, simply by proximity, get first dibs. Working electricals for a start are very hard to shift because they have to be sold with proof of safety. Old records, books, calendars, matchbox collections(!); all the sentimental stuff also tends to get sifted en route to the tip.

I just ran across the road and interrupted the house clearance team working there. I wanted to at least beg the photographs, having never managed to get away from a visit there without being shown at least a couple of photos with long stories behind them. George was so proud of his pictures.

The awful thing is that George Stripple's wife Ellen is still very much alive. She was his senior by five or six years , became very frail some time back and now lives in an old folks home. George was a grafter, up at the crack of dawn, he never seemed to sit still. He fully expected to outlive her by a decade and I think thats what we all imagined.

They had no children.

He lodged his will with a solicitor.

The first thing they did was lock the doors and refuse entry to the property, even to people who had been given a key.

OK I understand that reaction, perhaps, when the only owner has passed away, but even the solitary nephew who held Ellen Stripple as she wept at George's funeral was barred from running errands on her behalf if they involved entering her property.

See this is the thing. I get that the house would have to be sold if it was in George's name alone and there was a matter of probate. I get that it has to be sold to pay Ellen's care home fees assuming her savings and George's have both been depleted. I very certainly disagree with that, but I comprehend.

What I don't get is how every possession gets treated like an asset, how an old lady, slightly dotty and ocassionally forgetful but very much alive, gets treated worse than a debtor with the bailiffs in, just because she needs care and her husband has passed away. Is that what our Nation has become, predators to the weakest?

Husband dead, dear? No-one home watching your stuff and reassuring you you'll be coming home soon, if you get teary? Never mind ducky, we'll just box it. flog most and fly tip the rest. Say 'Ta-ta' to 60 or 70 years of married life building up a home. No, no you can't have the anniversary clock to remember him by, nor his old moth eaten bedroom slippers. Sod off.

Lets face it, there are some things that mere Bailiffs can't and won't take. For clearance guys, on the other hand, everything* you've got is fair game. And unless I'm behind on some news, you don't even have to be dead yet.

*The only things they count as personal items and save (I found out today) are items like cards and letters, and the precious photographs. Not the frames of course, not even tuppeny matchwood ones. I mean that would involve according you some sort of fucking dignity wouldn't it; and we can't have that.

Heres a game for you - guess what sort of temper I'm in.


Sharon said...

I wish I could find some clever remark, but there are no words, it's just so desperately sad.

beckyboop said...

Hmmm. I'm sensing a bit of anger and sadness. We all should be angry and sad! I'm thinking I would have snuck over in the night and collected some stuff for Ellen. Damned the inhumanity in the world. :(

zilla said...

I'd've snuck over,too. You're rightfully disgusted. My heart goes out to Ellen.

Anonymous said...

That is so, so horrible. This is what we, as a society, have become.


I am weepy with anger.

Stegbeetle said...

It's not right, is it? It's far from right.

bart said...

i'm not guessing, i'm just feeling along with those in the margins of society, unable to compete and thus deemed ineligable for consideration...

so sad...

fineartist said...

One of the things that I find most appalling about this situation is that ONLY his name was on the title of the house. I know that George and Ellen are of a different generation than us, but good Lord. Then again if her name was on the house too, George would have probably had to sell it, and render himself homeless in order to be able to afford to keep Ellen in the nursing home.

I am sick to death of the BIG FRAPPIN BUISINESS of medicine being able to strip of us any and all material gain in order that we may keep ourselves a live. It's a matter of quality of life, and being damned if you do and damned if you don't.

You either spend every cent you have taking care of your health which diminishes the quality of your life, or you don't come off the money and you suffer the quality of your health.

I've had it. Who can afford to live anymore with medical services being so damned astronomical? If you don't have insurance here in the states you're SCREWED. And even if you do have medical insurance, well, it rarely pays how it should and the cost is a flucking fortune to maintain.

Example, Four years ago I lost a lot of blood in a twenty four hour period; my hemoglobin count went from a normal 16, to a 5, I was dying literally and if I hadn't been taken to the hospital, I would have simply went to sleep and never woke up again. So my nephew ran me to the hospital. Only I was so messed up; couldn't think straight from the loss of blood, that I had him take me to the wrong hospital. Oh yeah, I had him take me to the Catholic hospital, my insurance specified the other hospital.

Later when I got the bill, they had charged me around three thousand dollars more, than if I had went to their hospital. When I explained to them that I was out of my mind....well, let's just say, they didn't give two hoots in hell. Also they wanted an itemized account of all of my expenditures so they could set up a payment plan for me. Bastards.

So I sent them all of my business and they decided that the three hundred dollars a month that I had left over after I paid my bills, was the amount that I should pay them. Bastards.

Luckily I had some measly stocks that I could cash in, at a 500 hundred dollar penalty and I paid most of the bill off, and I then told them I would pay them 130 a month till it was paid in full, they didn't like it much, but I told them take it or leave it. Bastards, they took it.

Something really stinks in our world, that's for sure, and I think it's greed, and a general lack of humanity.

Rant over.

Poor Ellen, bastards.

Neutron said...

Hiya, I am just about to start my campaign NOT to have to sell my mother's house to pay for her nursing care... you may want to look at these websites:

I am thinking of starting a blog to record my progress with the case.