News Headlines Article

Why do we spend so much on high-tech health care, so little on comfort for elderly?
Sacramento Bee

Danny’s death this autumn wasn’t nearly as bad as the weeks before it. My husband’s eldest brother died in November at age 71, just two months after entering a nursing home in apparent good health.

Healthy physically, that is. Daniel Meyers had begun the slide into dementia by his early 60s. It wasn’t Alzheimer’s; his family suspects the decades he spent as a commercial deep-sea diver before his last, devastating case of the bends – brought up too fast in a diving bell – ended his career.

In truth, it was a little hard to tell where “Danny being Danny” left off and the dementia began. He was goodhearted and eager to help anyone with anything (whether they wanted help or not, as one funeral joke put it), a magnet for women and a gifted but quirky handyman who had trouble committing to both relationships and construction jobs. He left behind a string of broken hearts and half-tiled bathrooms. Invoicing was an occasional thing, and when his abilities to carry out even simple tasks failed him in later years, he moved from his apartment to a garage and to living in his van, until his family placed him in assisted living and, finally, in the nursing home.