Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - July 30, 2010

Letters

Summer stress

Editor,

I see that summer school in Palo Alto became more intense this summer (July 23, "Intensive summer school draws to a close"), with year-long high school AP classes being crammed into a summer.

Now the pressure of the school year is extended into the summer. Are the students really learning and mastering complex material this way?

And, to top it off, the final exam (the AP test) comes next May!

With attitudes like these, we show our students that we don't care about their stress or about their learning. It's all about getting one more advanced course crammed in this summer.

Suzanne Jacobs

South Court

Palo Alto

Stevenson House

Editor,

Thank you for your July 23 cover story "The Retirement-home dilemma," highlighting the different housing possibilities for seniors in our community. As was noted in the story, there are few local housing options for low-income seniors.

I was surprised that you did not include Stevenson House in your list of senior-housing options. Since 1968, Stevenson House has served a critical need in Palo Alto as a nonprofit, affordable home and community for a diverse group of low-income seniors.

Located at 455 E. Charleston Road, Stevenson House is home to 140 seniors age 62 and older. Residents enjoy independent living as part of a greater community of their peers, making their home in one of three low-rise buildings in either a rental studio or one-bedroom apartment. Some residents work, some only have Social Security, and some have families who assist with rent. For HUD-subsidized units, residents must meet low- or very-low income requirements. For the 55 non-subsidized units, the county's low- and very low-income guidelines are used. There is a waiting list available for potential residents.

Stevenson House fosters self-esteem and independence, and helps residents age with dignity while offering their loved ones peace of mind. In addition to a safe, caring environment with spacious, verdant grounds and gardens, residents enjoy programs and services that are focused on both healthy living and intellectual stimulation.

Stevenson House is a leader in Santa Clara County in providing a desirable affordable independent-housing option for seniors.

Sam Gordon

Board President

Stevenson House

Low-income options?

Editor,

Susan Kostal's article about the retirement-home dilemma is missing a significant piece for evaluating senior-housing options.

Unless you are as wealthy as Brooke Astor was, or can accurately predict your life expectancy, you need to worry about what happens if you outlive your assets.

Assisted-living and continuing-care facilities are shockingly expensive. The question to ask is: Which facility allows you to stay if you deplete your assets, i.e. accepts Medi-Cal as payment?

Phoebe Goodman Bressack

Osage Avenue

Los Altos

Alzheimer's concerns

Editor,

My mother died from Alzheimer's eight years ago, placed first in assisted living and later in a nursing facility as her condition worsened. What I learned should be a cautionary tale for all of the Baby Boomers and younger generation: We will exhaust our life savings in a few years if we become disabled due to something like Alzheimer's.

Staying on the Peninsula will be impossible for all but the wealthiest of seniors, with long waiting lists for the rare facilities accepting moderate-income seniors.

Do the math from the list you gave: $266,000-$2.2 million entrance fees per couple and $5,000-$10,000 per month in basic fees per couple. These fortunate wealthy elderly will get the best of care. What happens to the average senior without those resources? Also, many of the assisted living facilities will not accept Alzheimer's patients, period.

We as a nation haven't begun to address how we can adequately care for the wave of seniors coming and there isn't enough money or spaces under present conditions. Take a look at some other countries' treatment of the elderly: services provided to keep seniors in their homes and decent nursing home care for all.

Alzheimer's diagnoses are increasing as we live longer, we have no national plan how to handle the care and services necessary. So the fact that we have some luxury facilities here in our area available to the very wealthy should be of no comfort to the rest of us.

Mary McMahon

Byron Street

Palo Alto

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