Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Walk This Way

     So now you’re a card-carrying Boomer. No, I don’t mean the ubiquitous AARP cards that have been populating your mailbox for years now. No, I mean your Medicare card, the one for which you qualify at age 65.
     This means that you now are part of the entitlement crowd of which some Congress members speak so scornfully. Although, if you’re like most of us you’ve been paying taxes for this all your working life. You should be entitled.
     But don’t think that your life is one big gravy train now that you’re on Medicare. An example:
     My 102-year-old mother-in-law’s balance isn’t so good these days so her doctor prescribed a walker – one of those tube-aluminum frames – to help her get around.
Medicare covers prescribed walkers, but only the stripped-down model – the one with two wheels in front that must be slid or lifted to move forward. Many people put tennis balls on the rear two legs to keep them from scratching floors.
     You want the easier-to-use, four-wheel model? Medicare covers only part of that, and only if you get the small-wheel type for indoor use only. You want bigger wheels suitable for going outside to shop or smell the roses? You pay.
     And do you want a seat with that? Sure, but Medicare won’t pay for a padded model, just bare metal. You want more cush for your tush? You pay.
     Clearly, Medicare isn’t paying for you to maintain the lavish lifestyle to which you’re accustomed as a younger person. Getting old means getting less.
     And now we hear Congress bleating about needing to make more cuts to Medicare, which already is bare-bones. Tell you what:
     If those hypocrites can’t give the elderly the same health-care perks that they give themselves, they should just shut the (bleep) up.

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