Hey, Seniors, get a room . . . at Aegis Living

By Camille Giglio

The Father’s Day edition of the Contra Costa Times, a division of the Bay Area News Group, carried this ad (pictured) presumably paid for by Aegis Living, for a senior living facility in my local area of California. The wording implies that good ole Mom and Pop, whom you so graciously moved into your home, are now crowding your lifestyle. 

Aegis is commiserating with your desire to want to get away for a while. You don’t know what to do with the folks and you feel a little bit guilty.

The people at Aegis know that you need to have some privacy and peace of mind and they are eager to take this burden off your hands.

Aegis tells you to just drop Mom and Pop off for a couple of weeks with them. They’ll feed them, take them on walks, let them romp with others their age, and allow them to socialize all day long.  

Did these folks get the idea for this ad after visiting the local dog kennel?

The whole thing sounds kind of cute, but it’s really a clever business promotion for the burgeoning niche industry of warehousing senior citizens. As usual, we citizens have been paying for the creation of a multitude of corporations and agencies that have been planning, promoting, implementing, and training caregivers since at least the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Aegis is, like many other elder care facilities, participating in the promotion of something called the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC). It’s a part of the Obama Affordable Care Act. The goal is to obtain the confidence of the community that only the professional knows how to care for Grandma and Grandpa. 

Take a look at the advertisement for Aegis. We see two people in a warm embrace. The title of the ad is “A Kiss is Still a Kiss”—a phrase taken from the popular 1942 song “As Time Goes By.” This song conjures up images of a once-happy younger life for the very age group being targeted for Aegis Living. Further, it shows what looks like a boat and water in the background. Aegis doesn’t have a residential facility by the water, but the ad perhaps reminds people of lazy days at the shore.

All you have to do is drop Mom and Dad off at Aegis and allow them to return to their youth for a while with a “lifestyle to fit your needs.” How could anyone feel guilty about that? Aegis staff members are the professionals. Your folks will be much happier there than with you or in their isolated and lonely single family home with some employee from an in-home health service.

Maybe Dad is giving you, the daughter-in-law, a bad time at home? Don’t worry. At Aegis, the staff is trained, according to the website, to “handle difficult behavior.” Never mind that it’s also a new source of workforce development for lower-skilled employees, social work trainees, and entry level community organizers.

Please understand that it isn’t my intention to just focus on Aegis. It is but one business entity in this rapidly expanding business of preying on vulnerable families who do often need respite from caregiving. 

The underlying intention here, however, is to smoothly transition the elder adult and his extended family members into the idea that this is the “best practice” for the retirement years of a person’s life.

This is the new norm. You are being gently pushed into accepting it.

The Affordable Care Act and its insistence on healthcare cost-cutting has been a driving force behind the development of a variety of ways to keep people from 1) continually returning to the hospital for chronic ailments, 2) dying in the hospital, and 3) taking up space in the community that the city planners would rather see housing young families in current school districts.

According to a report written by Ron Panzer, director of Hospice Patient’s Alliance, and entitled “Stealth Euthanasia”: “In 2009, only about 40 percent of hospice patients were cancer patients. However, in the 1980s almost all of them were! Think about it. Why the change?” 

Citizens with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic heart failure are amongst the major influx of new residents. These aren’t terminally ill people with six months or less of life.

Now, you might ask: What’s the problem with providing your loved ones with this type of living arrangement? We are giving families some breathing space and a nice place for seniors to live out their lives amongst their own age group. Their living arrangements are all planned; nutrition is taken care of; and healthcare costs are being held down. What’s the concern?

Aegis and its clones are merely a tool for the death and dying folks to access you or your parents with their DNRs, their POLST forms, and their palliative and comfort care only. Their goal is to prepare a planned, painless, stress-free-for-the-family timely death for everyone. 

All of this is carefully thought out and prepared, thanks to you the taxpayer, by the professionals in partnership with the government.

The key word here is transition. Transitioning is a new take on naturally occurring stages of life. Everyone moves through the stages of life from birth to death. According to the professionals, most people don’t transition easily or properly. They make mistakes which require costly treatments, prison sentences, or lost productivity. They disturb the tranquility and orderly progress of life in the community. Life must be carefully planned out by the professionals who will guide everybody through the transitions of life.

There are three such transitions, apparently, and a multitude of agencies to guide the pregnant woman, single mother, teenager, young adult, workforce member, or elder citizen. 

A website entitled Cradle to Career bills itself as providing “every child with ample opportunities to succeed and achieve their life potential.” This will, according to the website, make children “better able to contribute to the economic, social, and cultural life of the community.”

First Five, developed by actor Rob Reiner and funded by tobacco tax dollars, believes that parents must be professionally trained to raise their children from birth to age five or else they are slated to be failures.

California legislation has authorized all sorts of nutritional programs in schools, mental health counselors for all students, and healthcare clinics in all schools. Children are required to be included in their parents’ healthcare plan until age 26.

And now senior citizens cannot be left alone to manage their retirement years. It must all be done right and handled with a set plan of advancing to a predetermined, professionally prepared end of life which only the government in partnership with professional caregivers can provide.

Many of our political and faith leaders have lost sight of the unique position of human beings in the hierarchy of life on earth. We are viewed through the scientist’s microscope merely as the human element within the animal kingdom. 

Our lives are viewed as having value only for how we contribute to society. Our lives are planned, programmed, budgeted for, and catalogued in a system of scientific management. Forget about God’s plan for the salvation of your soul and an eternity in heaven. That’s not efficient. The government is here to bring you happiness, security, contentment, work, health, and play.

God bless all the husbands and wives who have faithfully cared for their spouses, the parents who have taken care of their disabled child, the sons and daughters who have given their time to be with ailing parents, or the grandmothers who have taken in their grandchildren and those they claimed as grandchildren. Bless the family-style board and care agencies. 

Let us all pray that your examples of love and devotion do not just become a part of history. 

Notes and further information:

1. Aegis is a corporation with each facility having its individual owners and operators. The website for an Arizona facility states that: “We have a part in the day-to-day operations and run Aegis the way a home health and hospice business should be run.” It states further that: “Aegis hospice is meant for those people who are in their final stages of life.” 

2. Project Compassion, founded by Rev. James Brooks, headquartered in North Carolina, claims to be a nonprofit community organization based on Christian values and a reverence for life. It advertises itself as working with faith communities such as Faith in Action, hospices, and end-of-life care coalitions. While training respite care volunteers, it also works in partnership with organizations that promote advanced care directives and advance care planning.

In addition, it works with the North Carolina’s secretary of state’s advance healthcare directive registry. This work includes something called “The Five Wishes,” which functions as a fully legal advance directive in many US states. This tells me that Project Compassion is a promoter of the POLST form which it refers to as a “Directive to Physicians.”

3. Ron Panzer is the director of Hospice Patient’s Alliance, Inc. Panzer has authored a 381-page exposé of the activities of elder care facilities. Here is an excerpt on the nationwide Vitas Healthcare Corporation, based in Miami, Florida, and having at least 10 facilities in California: “Vitas [Hospice] was instrumental in leading a bipartisan effort to add hospice to the healthcare payment system. As a result of these efforts, Medicare pays for hospice services.” This occurred around 1983 with the Medicare Hospice Benefit. His book also contains a full-page history of the transformation of the Euthanasia Society of America into the well-respected National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

4. “The Plan: Cradle to Grave (The Future of America with Unelected Boards).” This is an article in a book by Charlotte Iserbyt entitled Deliberate Dumbing Down of America and gives insight into the way children are being educated today.

5. Belbury Review author Ione Whitlock details the true meaning of palliative care and its goals. 

6. Community Care Transitions Toolkit 

National Palliative Care Research Center. Why is palliative care research needed? These years (over age 65) are characterized by physical and psychological symptom distress, progressive functional dependence and frailty, and high family support needs. Recent studies suggest that medical care for patients with advanced illness is characterized by inadequately treated physical distress; fragmented care systems; poor communication between doctors, patients, and families; and enormous strains on family caregiver and support systems.

7. BMJ (originally British Medical Journal) Abstract and Introduction: To determine the pooled effect of exposure to one of 11 specialist palliative care teams providing services in patients’ homes. 

8. Another recent article addresses this same issue. “Partnership increases elder care services in West Contra Costa.” The article states, “By 2020, seniors in Contra Costa County will make up 17 percent of the population and elder care advocates worry that there aren’t enough programs in place to handle the coming need.” The program that the article is promoting is from an organization called All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, and is funded through mediCal (California’s version of Medicaid) and Medicare. 

Camille Giglio is the director of California Right to Life Committee, Inc, in Concord, California. The main focus of her 35 years of volunteer service in the right to life field has been analysis of legislation and public policy affecting the family and the right to life in the fields of education and health.

This article has been reprinted with permission, and adapted by the author, from an article originally printed at http://www.speroforum.com/a/LYQHTHAGAE58/74976-Hey-senior-citizens-get-a-roomat-Aegis#.U74HdvldWSp.