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With all this chatter about healthcare, I started to think about Mom. It dawned on me that, at some point, Mom is going to need some sort of nursing home (that or she lives with one of you four). Either option is not cheap or an exciting alternative for her. We all know she wants to keep her independence and maintain her zest for life.
Recently reading one of the confusing healthcare articles, I deciphered that the cost of care for elderly is way up. Now, I thought “up” might mean a higher co-pay or more expensive bingo. No, we are talking big monthly costs. The article pointed out that putting an elder parent into a home in Tennessee costs, on average, $72,000 a year. Can you believe that? What possibly do you get for all that money? From my view of working in the healthcare software world, I have no idea where all that money goes. It sure does not go to buying my software.
I understand the basics you get for some of that money. For instance, it comes with medical care. Apparently there is a doctor who stops by periodically to check medications. Great. Also, there are nightly activities. I assume bingo, Pictionary, and probably crossword challenges. The money also pays for Mom’s food. Jell-O choices, Pasta Night, and caloric smart desserts. Don’t forget the occasional outings or field trips (I bet they go to see Graceland once a year). I did check and the one near me does not provide free Internet.
I love Mom just as much as you guys. She took care of us for years, so we have to take care of her. We have to be there for her and we will have to split this cost no matter how tough it will be. But wait, I found something even better! Right there in the newspaper next to the article I was pondering.
Next to the picture of several Senators claiming victory on some healthcare issue was an ad for a cruise. Think about it — the cruise can be Mom’s floating nursing home. A higher level of quality care at a lower cost. Yep, Brother Peter found the answer — send Mom on a cruise, forever.
The advertisement touted a cruise for as little as $250 a week. It you think about it, that would be $12,000 a year to live on the cruise ship, with food, Vegas-style entertainment, skeet shooting, and even slot machines included.
Yes, Mom will need some healthcare attention, but hey, these boats all have a doctor onboard. A real, live doctor. I hear they give a free trip to the doctor and their family in exchange of services. (Maybe Medicare should consider a program like this. Free trip, they give back free care for a week).
All those medications she is on … she can buy them at the ports of call! No mail order from Canada or another country. Every foreign port the ship docks in, she can refill her meds on the cheap. We all know medication is cheaper in every country other than America. The ship even keeps a supply of certain medications on board. Even surgeries are less expensive at these foreign stops.
But wait, there’s more. Food. Medicare-subsidized food or all-you-can-eat buffet. On the cruise, Mom can have her choice of restaurants each night. For lunch, she can have an outdoor barbecue by the pool or grilled salmon in the formal dining room. Breakfast of eggs the way she wants or maybe a trip to the omelet bar! If she can’t sleep, then how about a stroll pass the midnight buffet? All included in the price. (Tough decision — midnight buffet or choice of Jell-O tonight.) There is even a gym with a trainer to work off the extra calories!
I know nursing homes have magicians and comedians stop by, but think about a live, Vegas-type show. The stages on some of these cruise ships are huge. When is the last time you saw Billy Crystal stop by a nursing home to perform? Every night, Mom can get dressed up and really be entertained. Remember, all for a fraction of the cost of a nursing home.
I known we all live in different parts of the country, making it hard to visit Mom in a nursing home. But if she was on a cruise, we could make a fun trip out of it. We could bring the kids. “Hey kids, you guys want to spend a week at a hotel across from a nursing home or a week on a cruise playing with Grandma?”
This cruise idea saves us money, puts Mom in better care, better food, better entertainment, and a place to interact with friends. Now I see why so many old people are on those cruise ships. This is brilliant.
Let’s try to keep this idea a secret. We would not want the government to find out. They might choose to debate a “cruise” idea in Congress for several months. Then the next thing you know, we will see a picture of some Senators celebrating a victory for “CruiseCare” that only costs $120,000 a year. Money our taxes will pay. Let’s keep this idea low key for now!
Next stop for me; let’s see if the cruise will buy some medical software. Boss, I need to expense a couple of cruise trips …