Washingtonians for a Responsible Future


Lu Hamacek, Lacey




Aunt Jean with her Nephew Jack









My aunt passed away this last July. She was in a convalescent center as a long-term care resident and eventually a hospice patient. She had moved to Washington from Ohio in 2001, and was in an independent living apartment for a number of years before her decline. Even before this decline started, four of her nieces and nephews were contributing to her monthly rent, because the money she had from selling her home was running out and her only other income was social security. The monthly amount from social security and selling her home was nowhere near sufficient for rent or other living expenses, such as food and clothing. She had no insurance of any type to lend assistance. Once the move to assisted living, with its increased cost, was approved, we were no longer able to continue contributing, having already expended considerable savings to her monthly needs.

    I was no longer able to find work that would allow me to drop everything and assist her as needed. My siblings were likewise feeling the pinch and telling me they could not contribute as before. Luckily, she qualified for Medicaid at that point. Having Medicaid meant that she had to move from a one-bedroom apartment to a studio with no kitchen, and eventually to a shared room in the convalescent center. While the staff was good to her, she never recovered from the indignity of having to change her home so drastically, after she worked for many years to provide a comfortable retirement. I believe she died more from the depression and feeling of uselessness that followed more than from any physical illness.

-Lu Hamacek, Lacey