The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and communicate with one another in various ways, including scheduling virtual meetings, a significant reduction in travel, and reduction or elimination of large in-person gatherings. However, some important aspects of life have not changed, not all necessarily for the better.
In late August, news broke that 91-year-old actor Ed Asner died. Asner became famous for his role as Lou Grant, the crusty newspaperman on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, then later as Lou Grant on his own TV drama from 1977-82. He was also the lovable voice of Carl in “Up,” and Santa in the Christmas classic, “Elf.” As I was reading Asner’s obituary, I discovered that in 1978 there was a Lou Grant episode on nursing home abuse and neglect. I, therefore, interrupted my Manifest binge on Netflix to watch the episode, courtesy of YouTube. The themes portrayed in this episode still ring true 43 years later. Themes regarding the quality of care, financial abuse, and creating more opportunities for seniors to live at home instead of a nursing home setting. The episode was a moderate, well-balanced story that dealt with the realities of nursing home care in 1978. Unfortunately, it can be argued that not a great deal has changed in 43 years. Lou Grant tried to educate us 43 years ago. It is a lesson we are still trying to learn from.
In the not-changed category, in a positive fashion, I continue to be uplifted by our married clients and the ways that they can sustain their relationships, irrespective of significant health care issues. I am currently working with a couple who have been married for sixty-one years. Unfortunately, the husband is in need of 24/7 nursing home care while his wife is living in the marital home. However, the wife wants to leave the marital home in order to be with her husband, possibly in the assisted living section of the long-term care community. The love expressed by the wife towards her husband was a beautiful expression of commitment and of two souls bound together as one that cannot be separated by health care issues alone.
I was and continue to be a witness to these very special relationships. We are honored to have the opportunity to assist a couple like this in remaining together and structure the finances in such a way to make their wishes a reality. We strive in our office, through our holistic Elder Care Law practice, to learn from our clients and listen to the wonderful stories of how spouses met or of raising their children.
Let’s hope we can finally address meaningful change in long-term care that Lou Grant tried to educate us about 43 years ago. We owe it to our clients
together for over 61 years and all of those in similar situations.