Best-selling author Frances Fuller offers a unique outlook on aging based on her own experience. Her insights are penetrating and deal with issues that many seniors and their families are concerned about.
WILMINGTON, NC, August 04, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — When considering assisted living options, nothing is more important or urgent than the healthcare issue. In a recent article, Frances Fuller, bestselling author of ‘Helping Yourself Grow Old’, Fuller broke down the subject for those who are considering assisted living. In that article, to be followed by another, she covered a large range of subjects one needs to consider, and presented the major concepts broken down by role: The role of location, the role of insurance, the role of the institution and the role of the resident (Part Two on this subject will deal with the role of the resident’s family). The article reads, in part:
The siren of an emergency vehicle is a common phenomena in a large elder care community. It means that someone has fallen or fainted or might be dangerously sick. An ambulance or the fire department EMTs have arrived.
This is not surprising, since the organization has gathered into a small space a crowd of people whose tired bodies have begun to wear out.
Among the many questions we must ask before putting ourselves or a family member into a retirement home or any kind of continuing care community, none is more crucial than the question of quality health care.
Will I get the care I need when I need it?
Can the specific needs of my elderly parent be addressed effectively in that place?
The Role of Location
The first basic truth we must recognize is that an elder care home is just that: a home, not a hospital. Its residents, like all residents of the city where it is located, are dependent on the area’s existing medical facilities: emergency rooms, hospital beds, doctors, specialists.
Any home for the elderly should not be far from these services. Without them there is little serious health care. In recognition of this perpetual need, retirement homes normally make transportation to medical appointments the highest priority for the company van.
Significant to this subject is the issue of an in-house doctor. Some homes claim that a certain local doctor is a part of what they provide their residents. At the same time every resident is free to use this doctor or another whom they may prefer.
On the surface it might seem really good to a new resident to choose the services of the doctor who comes to the home. Surely it saves a lot of going to and fro for appointments, we think. And usually this doctor is well-known and highly regarded in the city. Their name lends prestige to the elder care home.
But there are questions the new resident needs to ask:
Will the doctor take full responsibility for a resident, like a normal gp, providing regular checkups and recommending needed specialists?
When does the doctor come to the home? (We know that he/she still has their practice in the city.)
How many in-house patients can the doctor see in a week? A month?
How much time will any resident have with the doctor, having chosen him/her as their general practitioner?
Recently a resident who uses an in-house doctor told me: “I have never seen him except at 6:30 in the morning. So I am never awake enough to remember my questions.”
Of course, the doctor may have an assistant, who is easier to contact, but both the doctor and the assistant have an office somewhere else, not in the retirement home. In other words, the in-house doctor is not actually in the house, but does make house calls.
And then there is the annoying question:
How much of the resident’s monthly fee goes to this doctor, whether or not the resident opts to use him/her?
The Role of Insurance
Though I hate to mention it, in America medical care must be paid for, and without insurance the cost can be astronomical. Living in a home for the elderly does not change this.
Medicare is basic, of course, but a dependable supplement, accepted nationwide is hard to live without. Prescription drug coverage is a major need, too. Without it, elderly people may spend a major part of their income for medicines, and being in an elder care home will not change that.
Some people also have long-term care insurance which may or may not be accepted as part of the cost of services in the elder community. Read the fine print on your policy and ask before you make a choice. Never assume. I have friends who have waited years for their insurance company to pay and finally moved to another home that, for some reason, the insurance company preferred.
Just like people living in their own homes, residents of the elder community should have their insurance cards always with them. Though the cards are on file with the home’s office, it is residents or guardians who must pass them to medical offices. If a technician comes to your room to make an x-ray or take your blood for a test, don’t cooperate until you see them copy your insurance cards.
The full piece is available at her site at http://www.inborrowedhouseslebanon.com/will-i-get-the-healthcare-i-need/
Frances Fuller’s book is unique among the many books on aging, because it is personal, while most such books are written from an academic point of view. Most are penned by sociologists, doctors, gerontologists, even the CEO of AARP, and one by a Catholic nun, Joan Chittister. Chittister’s book, ‘The Gift of Years’ is beautifully written, focusing on spiritual values and finding meaning in life. Chittister admits in the preface that she was only 70, which is the front edge of aging, and her book is somewhat abstract.
Atul Gawande’s book, ‘On Being Mortal’, relates medicine and old age, It enjoys high Amazon rankings, in the category of “the sociology of aging.” It contains a great deal of valuable scientific information and shows understanding of the physical and emotional needs of the elderly.
Frances Fuller’s book, ‘Helping Yourself Grow Old, Things I Said To Myself When I Was Almost Ninety’, is an up-close and very personal encounter with aging. It is an uncontrived and firsthand look at her own daily experiences: wrestling with physical limitations, grief, loneliness, fears, and the decisions she has made about how to cope with these and keep becoming a better person. She faces regrets and the need to forgive herself and others and is determined to live in a way that blesses her children and grandchildren.
Frances deals with many common, universal but sometimes private issues in an open, conversational tone. Her confessions and decisions invite self-searching and discussion. She tries to make sense of her own past and to understand her responsibility to younger generations. In the process she shares her daily life, enriched with memories from her fascinating experiences. Her stories and her voice — fresh, honest, irresistible — keep the reader eager for more. The end result is a book that helps create a detailed map through the challenging terrain of old age.
The result of this intimate narrative is that readers laugh, cry and identify with her mistakes and problems. Reviewers have called the book, “unique,” “honest,” “witty,” “poignant,” “challenging” and “life-changing.”
For these reasons it is a book unlike any other book on aging you will ever read. The book can serve as a primer on what lies in store for all of us, from someone who is working through many of these issues. While the book is a perfect fit for book clubs, there are many other individuals and groups who could benefit from the information and ideas in the book:
Those approaching retirement
People who are currently retired
Children of aging parents
Those who have lost a spouse
Retirement community discussion groups
Church groups (men and women)
and a host of others. For group discussions, Fuller has made a set of discussion questions available at her website at http://www.FrancesFullerAuthor.com.
Readers have lavished praise on the new book. One Amazon review stated, “I find myself thinking,’I need to read this again and take notes!’ It’s full of wisdom, humor, and grace. I also have committed to rereading it annually – it’s that important!” Another said, “There is valuable life experience in this book. Helping Yourself Grow Old is truly is a book for all ages, and one not to be missed.” Another stated, “Beautifully written book telling timeless truths, for both the old and the young. Highly recommend this book for anyone who loves to laugh, cry, and learn wisdom from someone who has lived so much life.”
Frances’ prior work, ‘In Borrowed Houses’, has taken three industry awards and has achieved Bestseller status. Frances Fuller was the Grand Prize winner in the 2015 ’50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading’ Book Awards. It received the bronze medal for memoir in the Illumination Book Awards in 2014. Northern California Publishers and Authors annually gives awards for literature produced by residents of the area. In 2015 ‘In Borrowed Houses’ received two prizes: Best Non-fiction and Best Cover.
Critics have also praised ‘In Borrowed Houses.’ A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards called ‘In Borrowed Houses’ ” . . a well written book full of compassion . . . a captivating story . . . “. Another reviewer described the book as “Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching . . .”. Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, ” . . . western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope.”
Frances has shared stories about her life in an interview with Women Over 70, and a recording is available on their Facebook page.
Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at [email protected]. The full text of her latest article is available at her website. Fuller’s book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from ‘In Borrowed Houses’ is available at http://www.payhip.com/francesfuller. Frances Fuller also blogs on other issues relating to the Middle East on her website at http://www.inborrowedhouseslebanon.com.
About Frances Fuller:
Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.
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