Cynics and skeptics have their places in the world. I am neither one. I tend to hang out in a happy zone, leaning in with an optimistic outlook. Glass half full is a good perspective to begin and end a day. That perspective isn’t without its challenges though. Looking at the world through rose-colored glasses sometimes leads to misassumptions which lead to disappointment and frustration.
This week I made a few assumptions about the availability of local community resources for home-bound and disabled senior citizens. However, the rose-colored glasses flew off my face during a call with a state-funded, county-level senior center. I called to gather information and to initiate services for an elderly couple that still lives in their rural area home. He is a heart failure patient with cardiac function of about 20%. He was sent home from in-patient cardiac rehabilitation with doctor’s orders for home health. His wife, a stroke survivor, is not equipped to be his 24/7 caregiver.
Working with home health services (covered by Medicare Part A) I brainstormed ways to support this frail couple. They assumed they are Medicaid-eligible. No. They assumed Hospice would provide room and board at a facility. No. They assumed Medicare would keep him in the hospital when he was re-admitted one day after his rehab discharge. No.
And then, I became Miss Assumption. I contacted the county provider for state-funded Meals on Wheels. All home-bound seniors are eligible for Meals on Wheels, right? Wrong. This couple lives 1.5 miles outside the delivery area. The county worker did her best to be helpful. She described a frozen meals option. A family member or friend could pick up 1-2 weeks of nutritional frozen meals from the nearest senior center. Miss Assumption (me) said “let’s do it”. The county worker offered to add their names to a waiting list. Waiting list? Really? What a disappointment.
What do I do with disappointment? I turn it into opportunity. Rose-colored shades perched on my nose, I am back to shaking the community senior services tree. I’m looking for exceptions, new offerings, and new avenues. I assume that the resources are out there or that, at least, like-minded people will create solutions to fill the gaps. I assume that government, non-governmental organizations, and philanthropists will respond with assistance for basic daily needs of our elders. I see my assumption as an opportunity for innovation. As a society can we use a demand generation approach to create awareness about needed elder services? My assumption is yes we can.