Readers React: If you plan on getting old, you should support a strong safety net

(Cameron Cottrill / For The Times)

To the editor: As a retired, healthy 73-year-old, I am always thinking of what will happen in the near future to my health. Will my wife be responsible for my care, as the spouses in this article who became full-time caregivers to their aging family members, or will there be help from a safety net?

To stay as healthy as I can, I eat right, get plenty of exercise and read the L.A. Times cover to cover every day. It is my responsibility to take of myself, even though I know I cannot plan for everything.

That said, I do believe there should be ample government assistance available. Ultra-conservatives who decry “moochers” do not understand that they will probably be in a different situation than they are today. It ought to be the government’s responsibility to step in and help when nobody else can.


This isn’t about “entitlements”; it’s about basic human rights.

Ed Sinderman, Laguna Woods


To the editor: My dear friend thought he had taken care of all his planning for old age, including with what he thought was a solid long-term care insurance policy purchased in the 1980s.

When he needed care during this last decade of his life, we found it wasn’t covered. The in-home care was limited. The policy would cover two years in a licensed nursing home.

He didn’t need a nursing home, as assisted living was the appropriate choice for him. But since assisted living didn’t exist at the time the policy was written, it wasn’t covered. He paid years of premiums for a long-term care policy that did not pay for his long-term care because of improvements (and cost savings) in healthcare.

If you are considering a long-term care policy, look carefully at how the policy is written. I believe this is an issue that should be addressed in Sacramento.

Gretchen Renshaw, Manhattan Beach



To the editor: The article said that one woman who is now taking care of her husband “never liked the idea of government social programs. She thought they were for moochers, a term she now says with a cringe.”

Then her husband was diagnosed with dementia, and she wanted government help from these same social programs.

Isn’t it interesting that some people who live so comfortably have no empathy for those who suffer until they themselves fall on hard times? “Mooching” takes on a whole new meaning when it becomes personal.

I wish the best for this woman and her family. I hope she comes to support the vulnerable members of the community.

Diane Roth, Santa Barbara

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