When Maureen developed arthritis, out-of-pocket expenses kept her away from volunteering and her social life.

Hi, I’m Maureen

I recently celebrated my 74th birthday, and I am full of both joy and rage. My joy comes from the fulfillment of a long life of love, memories and meaningful work, while my rage arises from my diminishing health and a society that refuses to help me continue to achieve my full mobility and potential.

I have rheumatoid arthritis that is, for now, mostly in my hands and feet. Since arthritis is a progressive disease, and as of yet, there is no cure, my future condition is unknown. This gives rise to lots of stress with the pain.

I have Medicare/MediCal and wonderful doctors at Keck/USC Medical Center, and I’m grateful for all that they do. But so much isn’t covered, and it is ruining my finances. For example, my doctors prescribe Ketamine for my pain; it’s a non-addictive, non-opioid that was used for racehorses. It’s a near miracle — but it hasn’t been cleared for human use. So, I have to get it from a compounding pharmacy, where it costs $75 each month and will continue to increase in price as I need more.

Additionally, my feet are virtually crippled by arthritis. Even though I have a prescription for custom orthopedic shoes, they aren’t covered by insurance because I’m not diabetic. Although they drastically improve my mobility, at $1200 per pair each year, these much-needed shoes also drastically impact my finances.

I intend to live a long life and to pay my good fortunes forward;  I just don’t know how with these obstacles. My social life and my volunteer work are eaten away by my healthcare needs and expenses. Seniors like me have so much to offer society, yet we are unable to be involved. We must urgently push for more solutions.

Long-term services and supports along with the workforce required is a crucial part of our community keeping seniors healthy.

Californians are living longer, more active lives, but they need some support. We must come together to make sure older adults in situations like Maureen’s, who need more forms of support, can get the help they need.