Even Hollywood Can’t Take Care of Our Elders

The Motion Picture & Television Fund — a charity started by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and other Hollywood luminaries to care for entertainers – – said Wednesday that it was closing a hospital and nursing home by year’s end.

The facilities have been a $10-million annual drain on the fund’s budget for the last four years according to the administrators.

Residents have included DeForest Kelley, who played Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on “Star Trek”; Dick Wilson, of Mr. Whipple fame; and producer-director Stanley Kramer.

A annual pre-Oscar fundraiser bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel contributes six to seven million dollars a year, almost half the motion picture fund’s budget. But fundraising was not enough to cover the hospital and home shortfall, plus millions more the fund spends annually on direct financial assistance to needy entertainers.

Does this sound familiar. The primary sources of funding for the home and hospital are Medicare and Medi-Cal, the government healthcare programs for elderly and poor patients. The home and hospital cost $30 million a year to operate but received only $20 million in reimbursements. However, not for nothing, but Hollywood stars could easily make up the shortfall and not feel any pain. That is a little bit different then what typical facilities could do.

So, even though I continue to sound like a broken record, here are your lessons. Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Many of the residents I see in nursing facilities got there not because age caught up with them but because they did not take care of themselves. Yes some illnesses and diseases can not be avoided so there will still be a need for facilities. And that gets to lesson number two – expect no one but yourself to pay for the care in a nursing facility. Buy a long term care insurance policy.

Hey this isn’t glamorous but even Hollywood glamor loses its sheen when they can no longer take care of their own.