Thursday, October 7, 2021

Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash

Got a message from my friend Jeff Bossin the other day. Jeff took time out of his busy day building brands and making award winning Super Bowl commercials, to tell me that he loved when I dropped my reference to "Stay Out Of Dirty Nursing Home Retirement Fund."

It is a foil I use quite often, as the words have a nice rhythm, but also in the vernacular of Homer Simpson, "It's funny cause it's true." 

It's true because over the course of the last few years, I've become intimately and unfortunately familiar with the senior world living situation. Not mine, I'm only 44. 

I'm referring to my uncle's situation, who, if you read Monday's edition of R17, you know just passed away. 

Unable to maintain the house in Palm Springs, my uncle started looking into a different living situation here in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, due to a miscalculation and the purchase of so, so many extension chords, measuring cups, and reams upon reams of printing paper, his funds did not last as long as he thought his body would.

That precluded taking up residence in any of the Sunrise facilities, a brand Southern Californians will all come to know. And aspire to.

You see Sunrise is the Ritz Carlton of assisted living facilities. A minuscule room with the barest of services can cost as much as $6500/month. And that's before any kind of caregiving or special meals or premier bingo seating is added in.

For a brief moment I thought about supplementing my uncle's meager funds to get him into Sunrise, but then I remembered Father Time had my name on his list. Once you step off the Sunrise ledge, the quality of the facilities takes a steep drop. Moreover, the process for admission is quite rigorous. It's worse than getting your kids into private school.

We thought we had finally secured him a position at a place in Culver City across from Sony studios, but two weeks before he was scheduled to move in, they called and told me they had to give up his spot. My wife and I are convinced it was because my uncle called and got into one of his famous tantrums with the management.

And so, for 4 miserable months my uncle ended up here, at Holiday Villa East.

Pleasant enough looking on the outside (I guess) but a nightmare on the inside. The carpet was installed when Eisenhower was president. And never changed. The staff have permanently implanted AirPods and cannot hear a single request from the residents. And the vegetable lasagna doubles as a tool of euthanasia.

My uncle chose the cheapest room they had. 

It was barely 250 square feet, the size of a Motel 6 room. And it was situated next to the creaky elevator shaft, which warbled through the paper thin walls. My wife and I rejected it immediately and sprung for the additional funds to get him a room with a window facing the ocean, which would have been visible if the facility were 10 stories tall, not two.

When the situation became unbearable and his need for additional medical services expanded, we moved him to Terraza in Cheviot Hills. I'll have more to say on this shithole when I get the final bill.

The point is, as it has been for awhile, stash that money for your own denouement. Save regularly and make your plans well in advance. I'm speaking from personal experience here.

You don't want to go to Hell while you're on the topside of Mother Earth.

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