A patient dying of financial catastrophe

I am not a doctor of finance.  I’m a medical doctor.  So when I enter an elderly patient’s home, I’m not expecting to do a wallet biopsy.  Whether they can pay me or not is of little consequence.  I do think, however, about whether they will be able to afford the care I prescribe.  Will they have enough to pay for that extra caregiver?  Is there cash to keep a roof over their head, food to nourish them?  These considerations only became a part of my practice as I grew experienced enough to move past the initial medical reasons that I was being called for.  Not only health, but finances can be heartbreaking.  Over many years of seeing my patients suffer and die from disastrous medical illness, I find it curious that I can’t seem to let go of the unbearably sad story of Isabel. She was chronically ill and suffering.  Alone in the world.  And then she became a hundred and homeless.

Elderly at risk

I was not her financial advisor.  So I can’t tell you how she ended up a hundred and homeless.  Maybe she never truly owned the home and was still paying the mortgage.  Maybe she did a reverse mortgage as the years passed and her body refused to succumb.  She possibly took a line of credit on her home to pay for a full-time caregiver?

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