Relax said the Night Man
We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you’ld like
But you can never leave
We’ve all seen them.
Those slick, liquid crystal display billboard ads for assisted living. You know the ones — an attractive couple in their late sixties or early seventies strolling along a stretch of beach, or coming off the links after an invigorating afternoon of golf.
And Baby Boomers eat this stuff up.
When Mom’s Alzheimer’s turns a critical corner, and it’s time to make some tough decisions, somewhere in their subconscious mind they see the picture of the smart-looking couple standing by the golf cart and think, Everything will be just fine. Besides, Mom has always wanted to learn how to golf.
That’s what assisted living facilities pay PR firms for. . . I call it Subconscious Engineering.
And it’s all “fiction” (“lie” is the more accurate term, but I can live with fiction).
Here’s the truth. Assisted living – as the name implies – is a series of services provided to those individuals who can no longer provide them for themselves. Dressing, bathing, eating, toileting are examples of the type of services I’m talking about. Sometimes the services are provided because of frail aging, other times it might be ALS, Parkinson’s or a bad car accident.
Now, ask yourself, How many people with this kind of medical-needs profile are regularly out on the golf course?
Now the interesting part. . . the subconscious mind can’t distinguish fiction from fact. It’s not even remotely rational and yet it’s the most persuasive part of the decision making process. (The same billboards 50 years ago shouted “Studies show more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.”)
Assisted living facility owners pay top dollar for sales and marketing. But unlike the cigarette smokers, their resident’s can’t quit.
Once you’ve sold your home (or the more likely scenario is that your kid’s sold it out from under you)and all your furniture and your car, and cashed in your securities portfolio — all to pay the $3,000-$15,000/month (no, that’s not a typo) it costs for assisted living, you don’t just get disgusted one day and decide to leave.
And that’s the dirty little secret. One day every resident has an epiphany. . . I’m going to die in this place.
And from that moment forward, your home becomes your hospice.