Many more of us are hearing stories of wealthy elderly individuals refusing necessary medical care to save money, even though they have adequate funds. Social scientists and gerontologists have written dozens of articles and published results of studies substantiating this phenomenon. In a “New York Times” blog written by Paula Span on Aug. 4, 2011, Span recounts the story of a friend who worked in an independent home care facility in California.
According to Span’s friend, a 93-year-old patient admitted to a health care facility declined hiring a caregiver for the recommended 28 hours per week, opting for only 10 hours per week for in-home health care. Her client claimed she wasn’t able to afford the nurse’s care, but according to the nurse, the elderly patient made a lot of money from the housing market.
Many social scientists and gerontologists believe that elderly patients may be resistant to spending money on themselves for necessary health care because of their experiences living during the Great Depression. Patients age 80 and older experienced the economic hardships brought on by the Great Depression. This may be the primary reason they are hesitant to spend money on themselves.
Social scientists also believe that elderly patients may be resistant to spending money on health care because of their lifelong missions to save money for their children. If you’re the adult child of an elderly parent requiring medical care, it can be good to help your parent understand that you are self-sufficient and parental well-being is an important goal for you, too.