Marion Somers, or Dr. Marion, as she’s usually known, is on a mission to spread the word about long-term care. And she’s doing it one city at a time.
She is currently in the middle of a 12-week national bus tour to raise awareness about long-term care planning and the emotional and financial impacts of aging. At each stop in the tour, which is sponsored by the 3in4 Need More Association, Dr. Marion speaks at local venues, makes media appearances, participates in community fundraisers, and more. Oh, and did I mention there’s a talent show?
Earlier this week, the bus stopped in Denver and I had a chance to drop by and see what it was all about.
Dr. Marion spoke to a large crowd of residents, caregivers and family at Apple Ridge Assisted Living, sharing facts, advice and encouragement.
She told the audience that when looking for long-term care insurance, it’s important to seek out an agent who deals with many companies. “Long term care is not a one-size-fits-all situation. You have to find what’s right for you.”
She also cautioned that those who are looking to Medicare or politicians for long-term care planning solutions are in for a rude surprise. She told me she had discussed the upcoming “geriatric tsunami” with every presidential candidate and none of them have a solution. “It’s up to us,” she said.
And she also has a message for advisors. Keep spreading the word about the need for long-term care planning using any means necessary, including friends, co-workers, peers and social media.
Each tour stop also features a talent contest, where residents and their families can strut their stuff in the hopes of winning a variety of prizes. The grand prize is one year of free rent at an Emeritus facility of their choice.
So far, acts on the tour have included a saxophone player and a resident who sings Elvis songs with humorous lyrics about life in an elder care facility.
So, why is Dr. Marion so passionate about this cause?
“My life is better and more productive because of the seniors who have entered it,” she said. “You don’t get to to be 60, 70, 80, 90 or 100 without learning about life.”
And for those of you wondering what it's like to spend a summer touring the country in a converted Greyhound bus?
“It’s one step up from camping,” she said with a laugh.
To give you a taste of the talent show, here's a group of residents from the facility known as the Blue Bell Ringers, who helped start things off on the right foot with their rendition of "Moon River."