The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my late 80s, and I’m very concerned about paying for my eldest son’s nursing care.
He’s in his 60s and single. His legs are disabled after cancer spread to his spinal cord, and he’s been certified as requiring care Level 5. He has been living at a fee-charging nursing home for the elderly in another prefecture since two years ago.
He told me he goes to a hospital, where he was hospitalized before, a few times a month for treatment. His chemotherapy costs a lot and taking a care taxi to and from the hospital is also expensive, so it seems he’s used up his bank savings. I therefore send him money by bank transfer once every two months or so.
I now live with the widow of my second son, a granddaughter and her husband and two great grandchildren. I live on a pension, so I have no idea how long I can continue sending money to my son. Thinking about our future, I feel very uneasy. Anything can happen to me, because I’m very old.
My son can only depend on me. His treatment may take a long time, so I’m at a loss what to do. Please advise me about our future.
I, Hiroshima Prefecture
Dear Ms. I:
I understand how concerned you are as the mother of an ailing son. However, he’s not very young but already in his 60s. Also, he still has you, a strong supporter who is concerned about him and sends him money regularly. So I don’t think he feels lonely. I believe he can hang on.
It is unlikely that he will suddenly be forced to leave the nursing home where he lives just because he has no money. I’ve heard that a similar nursing home looked for another facility for a person who could not pay accommodation fees. And if he meets the requirements, he can apply for public assistance and medical assistance.
He’s now certified as requiring care Level 5 and stays at a nursing home, so I assume he’s being taken care of appropriately by a care manager. If you’re concerned, contact the care manager and ask about your son’s situation. Or if a problem arises, the care manager will certainly contact you or your family.
Even though you’re very old, why don’t you go see your son if it’s possible? You can discuss this matter with your daughter-in-law or granddaughter who live with you and ask them to accompany you on your visit.
To encourage your son, it is important that you take care of your own health. Leave concern about the future to younger generations and stay healthy for him as long as possible.
Megumi Hisada, writer