A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I've just started researching an article on long-term care insurance for caretakers of individuals with special needs. Most people don't realize that over 50% of Americans at some point in their lives will need long-term care, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The average length of long-term care is two and a half years. A person could easily burn through a million dollars in that time.

This is worrisome for anyone, but particularly for those who are providing for others.Parents of special-needs children worry that when they die, the children they are caring for at home (often adult children) will be institutionalized. They scrape and save, hoping to leave behind enough of an estate to provide for their children when they're not around. If they live long enough and die quickly enough, the scenario may play out the way they intend. A broken hip, a stroke, or the onset of Alzheimer's, however, can wreck the best-laid plans. LTC insurance works to pay for nursing or in-home assistance, thus preserving assets.

Eligibility for payout of LTC insurance benefits is determined by an assessment of ADLs: activities of daily living. The list of ADLs differs for different organizations, but generally comprises things like getting out of bed unassisted, getting dressed, preparing meals, going to the bathroom. An insurance company may recognize 6 ADLs, and pay benefits if 2 of the 6 cannot be performed by the individual, as determined by a physician.

A common acronym for the basic ADLs is DEATH: Dressing, Eating, Ambulating, Toileting, Hygiene. It is a handy mnemonic. Also another reminder that disability sucks. That when you can no longer dress, eat, ambulate, and so on, you're staring at DEATH.



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