Seattle Times

Grandma and Grandpa pods

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I wrote this article five years ago and I’m posting it again today because it is one of the most viewed posts on my blog. Financial figures are five years old so current, 2018/2019 figures will be considerably higher.

I read a fabulous article in the “Home” section of today’s Seattle Times newspaper.  It’s a throwaway section that I always read before I toss it into the recycle basket.

Publicity photo of Will Geer and Ellen Corby a...
Publicity photo of Will Geer and Ellen Corby as Grandpa and Grandma Walton from the television program The Waltons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All of us are getting older – there’s no cure for that other than not growing older by leaving this earth before you’re ready – so where are all of us going to live – especially Granny and Pappy who can no longer safely live on their own?

Long-term care (LTC) facilities have priced themselves out of most households’ bank accounts and the alternative solution of having grandparent sitters is cumbersome and expensive in itself.  What’s an adult child to do?  If you have space on your property to have a guest house newly built or better yet, if you’re willing to turn your sunporch or guesthouse into accommodations for mom and dad, the original outlay of funds will pay for itself because you will have avoided the need for a facility’s ultra-expensive long-term care services.

One company that makes the pods spotlighted in the Seattle Times’ article is called Home Care Suites.  Disclaimer: I am not advocating for this company’s product.  I am merely pulling information out of the article and presenting it to the reader so you can do research that applies to your situation and your budget.

The pods made by this company range in size from 256 to 588 square feet with prices ranging from $42,000 to $83,000.  This is no drop in the bucket but let’s consider the cost of facility care.  Genworth (who sells long-term care insurance) states that the average monthly fee for assisted-living (AL) was $3,300 in 2012.  I think that’s a very naive figure based on my experience of having worked in the LTC housing industry.  Maybe Genworth’s lower number is just the cost for monthly rent – but what about care services?  Cha-ching!!!  Now you’re looking at double that amount and the cost will only go higher as care needs increase.  But even at only $3,300 per month, that amounts to $158,400 for a four-year period.  See how do-able the pod concept seems now?

Many of the AL service needs are simple monitoring of a resident – tasks that you can do for your loved one: waking them up, helping them get dressed, a certain amount of medication assistance, meal provision.  Many seniors living in AL facilities don’t need the massive hands-on care of bathing assistance, toileting services, physical therapy, etc.  I know for a fact that if a family member has the time – and a little patience – they can provide these lower acuity services on their own for quite some time before securing hands-on medical care for the elder member of their household.

Skipping ahead to after Grandma and Grandpa/Mom and Dad have passed on, you now are left with an added structure on your property which you can transform back into the porch or game room of its earlier existence, or simply leave as is as a guest room that may accommodate someone else in your family.  I have to believe that your initial investment in constructing a pod is an investment that you won’t regret.  And don’t forget – the costs for such a project aren’t necessarily out of your own pocket.  Perhaps Grandma or Grandpa are willing to pull some of their savings out from underneath their mattress and contribute to the cost of this alternative living arrangement that would certainly be more attractive to them than a lengthy stint at an AL facility or nursing home.  Just saying.

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My plea for print news media

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I love, love, love to read my local print newspaper, The Seattle Times, each morning.

 If a daily edition is late due to inclement weather, I will read the paper on my tablet, but only if I’m quite certain the print edition won’t arrive, e.g., snow, power lines across the roads, the end of the world as we know it, etc.

But I don’t want to read the paper on my tablet  – or sitting at my computer – as  my only option.

NO!!!!!

The other local area newspaper, Seattle Post Intelligencer, switched to online-only several years ago.  I’m thrilled that the Seattle PI is still available to readers but I fear the remaining local newspaper will end up with the same fate.

Why do I think so?  Read the rest of this entry »

App-licable to retirees

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Person with cellphoneSome of us have owned smartphones for quite some time now.  Others have finally joined the 21st century, just recently retiring their Motorola flip phone. (Love you Honey!)

Sure, the latest and greatest phones are used to make calls – oddly enough not as frequently as we send texts – but they can also help us through our day-to-day schedules.  Jonah Bromwich, New York Times columnist, provides retirees with information on apps we might find quite useful. Read the rest of this entry »

Rejection is a passing fantasy

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Enevelope greenHave you ever been rejected? Read the attached NY Times article: Accepted? Rejected? Relax You’ll see that the article was retitled since it first appeared so when you click on the link, you’ll see the subject matter as being about college admissions.

Rejection affects all of us: it’s not just about college admission policies.

I’m a writer; I should know.

I’ve only been looking for an agent for 30 days, therefore the 15 rejections – or what I like to call not interesteds – I’ve received out of 60 submissions sent is only 25% of the total so far.  Wow, 75% of the agents haven’t turned me down yet! Read the rest of this entry »

Unconditional support at home and on the field

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via Jim Caviezel’s challenge to 12s: Now is the time when Seahawks need us most.

Washington State’s own Jim Caviezel, film and television actor, wrote a fabulous article for the Seattle Times newspaper, attached above.  I echo his sentiments about the importance of unconditional support.

Group of gray and blue peopleMost parents don’t have a problem understanding the concept of unconditional love when it comes to their children.  When a child messes up, they don’t give up on him or abandon him.  Parents retain the hope that their child will do better next time, and they stand by their child to help him get there. Read the rest of this entry »

The team mindset

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TeamworkHow Legion of Boom’s message of brotherhood helped save the Seahawks’ season | Larry Stone | The Seattle Times.  Larry Stone, sports writer at the Seattle Times newspaper, wrote an inspiring column that highlights the “us” philosophy of the Seattle Seahawks team.  Note: this is not just an article about football – it’s much, much more.  I addressed a similar message in my article: Teamwork: playing nice together.  Here’s an excerpt from that article:

Working in tandem is effective only when each person grabs a hold of the baton for their portion of the project.  In relay racing, one person doesn’t run the entire race, everyone does their part; no single effort is worth more than the other.

When you read Larry Stone’s and my articles (both attached above) you’ll come to the conclusion that the principle that is being proposed is not just football-related, it’s also society-related.  Read the rest of this entry »

Teamwork: playing nice together

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Children with Seahawks colorsAs a child, do you remember being admonished to “play nice together” with your siblings or friends?  Or perhaps you’re a grandparent who has encouraged your grandchildren to behave better with others by using that same phrase.  I like it, and I think playing nice together needs to be a part of our daily life strategy. Read the rest of this entry »