“Life and death are important. Don’t suffer them in vain.” Bodhidharma
“Compassion is not religious business; it is human business. It is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability; it is essential for human survival.” Dalai Lama
Five million seniors remain in poverty despite the 2008 Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment Announcement. Medicare premiums have skyrocketed 93 percent Since 2001, five times faster than COLA Increases. My mother was looking forward to the 5.8% increase that she was promised like other senior citizens in the Social Security payments. What they failed to tell her was that they were increasing her Medicare costs so much that all she sees of the cost of living increase in $66.00 a month.
$66.00 let’s see how far that can go. She takes 17 prescriptions a day for her heart $66.00 won’t even pay for one months supply of one of them. Gas is back up to $2.00 a gallon. $66.00 wouldn’t even cover the trips to her doctor for one month. The price of groceries keeps going up and up and $66.00 buying at the lowest cost place in town of Aldis wouldn’t cover a months worth of groceries let alone a week. Duke Energy puts her on a payment plan and increases the amount they take out every month. She keeps the house at 68° during the day and 63° at night. Her cat gets so cold she sleeps on the floor heater vents hoping they will come on soon.
This country’s history of treating our senior citizens is appalling. In the Far Eastern cultures the elderly traditionally have been looked on with respect and are cared for in their old age. Here in America we are a throw away society and that includes the elderly when they get to be a burden to our life style. Nursing Homes are over crowded and understaffed. At our hospital here in my small town we have had the local nursing home just drop off patients suffering from dementia with no papers and no idea of where they are or whom they are here to see or even why they are here. It is no wonder why so many senior citizens will hide their poverty in an effort to stay in their own homes even if they are crumbling around their ears.
With the high cost of medicines we are finding a number of elderly are just not taking them any more because they can’t afford them. They try and get through the red tape of Medicare and Medicare replacements and plan D medical and supplemental coverage and it is a nightmare. We had to complain a couple of years ago that elderly patient were being taken for a ride by Humana Health insurance. They had tables set up at Wal-Mart supposedly to let the elderly know about their supplemental coverage for medicines but if fact were enticing these people to give up their Medicare and take the Humana replacement. They aren’t the only company out there doing that. The seniors think they are getting just the drug coverage only to find out that they are stuck for the next year with a replacement that took away their Medicare and are now sticking them with high co pays.
Our government has let the drug companies take advantage of the elderly in their efforts to “privatize” Medicare. They give embarrassingly small cost of living increases and then take most of it away. They ignore the energy companies gouging of the public. They give billions to Wall Street and the corporate jets. You want to see something truly frightening check out what the cost of the war in Iraq at http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home and then see how many senior citizens could be helped in your area for what we have thrown away in Iraq.
Our elderly should be our number one resource and treasure. They made it through the Great Depression. They made it through Hitler and World War II. We can learn from them if we choose to do so. While politically my Mom and I are worlds apart, emotionally there is a bond that can never be broken. She deserves more then a $66.00 a month raise and I intend to keep on my political representatives to do something about it. I don’t envy Barak Obama. He has a huge mess to clean up but I do have faith that he will try and do his best for all of us, including the elderly.
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