Thursday, April 06, 2006

Live long and prosper. -- No no, longer than that. And more prospering!

Experts say "Modern medicine is redefining old age and may soon allow people to live regularly beyond the current upper limit of 120 years."

I thought of that as I watched Almost Home, a featured film on the PBS series The Independent Lens. The documentary illustrates the changes being made at Milwaukee's St. John's on the Lake nursing home and the effects on the lives of its residents.

It's a moving and unforgettable film that everyone should see.

Young administrator John George is dedicated to "reinventing its 135-year-old medical model of care (think hospital) with a social one (think home)".

Madison's Capital Times describes his ultimate goal:
To shake up the industry so drastically that 20 years from now ailing baby boomers actually will look forward to spending their final days in a nursing home. Realizing that they themselves -- not the staff -- will decide how they live.

At St. John's, George notes, "if a resident wants to eat greasy bacon five times a day, we let them do it. I mean, who cares? They're 90 years old. What's a reduced salt, low-fat diet going to do for someone who's lived a full life?
The Times also notes that St. John's, at $257 per day, is "slightly more expensive than the average nursing home."

$257 per day? Yikes. Better get cracking on that retirement planning. Good thing I'm living to 120 so my retirement interest will have time to compound.