Author Topic: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians  (Read 918 times)

mlipps

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Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« on: March 24, 2019, 04:40:25 PM »
Hi friends,

Looking for some local insights to a dilemma our family is having.

My parents currently live in SE Ohio, about 2 hours from Columbus. My dad is 66 and his health is diminishing. He's recently been diagnosed with cancer, on top of some other chronic conditions. He's being treated in Columbus for the cancer (thank goodness--local hospital is lousy) and my parents are finally finally realizing that it might not be a good idea to be so far from quality healthcare. I live in Chicago, so I try to get home when I can but it's not like I'm here every day to help out.

Financial Situation: My parents live in my dad's social security income of about $2k/month. They are quite frugal. They have somewhere around $200-250k in a Traditional IRA and another year's living expenses in a cash savings account. We're carefully managing their income as my mom is only 58 and is enrolled in a marketplace plan, but if we need to start drawing down the TIRA we can do so. Their home is paid for but local housing market is soft. My conservative estimate is that it could sell for $30-50k. They have two paid for compact cars and no debt whatsoever.

Lifestyle Situation: My dad is close with his family, who live nearby, but they are also all getting up in their years (he's the youngest), so there is social support but not too much day to day help. My mom's family is more scattered. I have an older sister who lives locally but let's assume she's not going to do anything as that's generally been the case so far. Most important fact, my mom DOES NOT drive in Columbus. My dad does, but I'm not really certain he should anymore, because he's tired all the time and his cognitive functioning isn't always the best. When they go to Columbus now, my mom drives as far as Lancaster or Canal Winchester, depending on the traffic, and my dad drives the rest of the way.

The meat of the issue: My parents are finally considering a move to Columbus/Columbus area to be closer to their doctors. All options are on the table for consideration at this time. There is an argument for a house, where my parents would be more comfortable and there fore more likely to stay long term, as well as an apartment, where they would have little obligations for maintenance/upkeep. Keep in mind my parents are small town people and always have been, so even moving to Lancaster (for example) would be a big adjustment.

I'm trying to determine if there's an area in Columbus or the suburbs (if suburbs ideally south/east sides to stay closer to family back home) where my parents would have access to public transit or senior transportation? (Is that a thing in Columbus? Unknown) that would get them to their doctor visits & routine errands. My dad sees doctors at both OSU & Riverside right now. It would have to be affordable--my mom and I are ballparking that they could swing $600-$1000/month in housing costs with his SS & a small IRA distribution. Anyone have ideas? Specific "active senior communities" that might be a good fit? Neighborhoods? Community resources?

Taking any and all suggestions--really appreciate you reading all this!

MayDay

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 06:11:23 PM »
I don't have any specific suggestions but good luck. Public transport is generally bad in Columbus unless you are in the city (like...... Nothing in Lancaster bad). It also gets more expensive as Columbus is experiencing a nice boom right now.

I do agree that living in Cbus is a good idea with your dad going to OSU. We lived in Granville (so the equivalent distance of Lancaster) and I had to drive my husband and myself in to various OSU appointments, and my kids to Nationwide children's appointments. The drive gets old fast and I am very comfortable in the city.

I don't know for absolutely certain but I'd be shocked if they can get transport to OSU from Lancaster or Canal Winchester. If the goal is for your mom not to have to drive in the city, and your dad not to drive at all, it sounds like they need to be quite close to OSU. That will not be what they are used to, but many seniors who love young enough find they do enjoy the senior complexes with built in social activities. Maybe you can get them to try it for a few months (or however long a lease is) and hold off on selling their house.

civil4life

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 06:47:47 PM »
Do you know your father's prognosis?  Would it make sense to rent close to OSU for treatment?

I lived in Delaware during an internship.  It is a nice town, but is on the northside and would not have the transit needs.

Ohio does have elder services that can help with housing and healthcare.  I believe there are options for getting transportation for medical visits. 

My dad had Leukemia and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society was able to assist.  He got his treatment at at the Cleveland Clinic.  During his treatment he had a nurse navigator that helped with all coordination for his treatment.

Cranky

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2019, 05:59:51 AM »
Some of the Medicare Advantage plans include transport to doctor appointments, so you might look into that.

mlipps

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2019, 08:03:25 AM »
He's already good for the treatment. They've qualified for financial assistance from OSU so during his 6 weeks of treatment they have a hotel room Mon-Fri. Between me and my aunt they are ok to get back and forth in the short term. But he'll have follow ups with Oncology, scans, and also has regular appointments with derm, pulmonary, and cardiology. It's just getting to be a lot of trips back and forth. Most of all, if he goes to the ER I'd much prefer he end up anywhere in Columbus, where he can be easily transferred, than our local hospital.

The Medicare Advantage idea is a good one. And helpful to know (although disappointing) that the public transportation in Columbus isn't good. I was already leaning towards them getting an apartment very close to the hospital being the best option.

Fig

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2019, 08:44:53 AM »
I agree that living close to OSU might be the best option, unless medical services can provide transport. I lived in Columbus for a while years ago and used the buses a lot, mainly shuttling up and down High Street between my job downtown and apartment on campus. As with many cities, I found the service pretty good around the city centre and in areas with student demand, but less good further out. Also bear in mind that the buses will be much slower than driving, so it would be tiring and inefficient to travel longer distances on a regular basis.

The COTA website looks far more helpful than it used to be, for checking out routes and schedules:
www.cota.com/trip-planner

All the best to you and your family.

civil4life

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2019, 06:43:35 AM »
Most of all, if he goes to the ER I'd much prefer he end up anywhere in Columbus, where he can be easily transferred, than our local hospital.

Any time my dad ended up needing to go to an ER he went to a local ER.  They would either coordinate with his Cleveland Clinic Dr. or transport him to Cleveland.

mlipps

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2019, 09:19:35 AM »
Most of all, if he goes to the ER I'd much prefer he end up anywhere in Columbus, where he can be easily transferred, than our local hospital.

Any time my dad ended up needing to go to an ER he went to a local ER.  They would either coordinate with his Cleveland Clinic Dr. or transport him to Cleveland.

That's helpful! Can we insist on this if he goes to the local hospital? He still has to be stable enough to be transported right? Does insurance (Medicare & Medigap) pay for the transport costs?

des999

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2019, 09:57:53 AM »
Hi,
I agree with the earlier post, the COTA (bus) system is getting much better and would be my recommendation, not a lot of other options for public transportation. 

That price point is going to be tough as Columbus has gotten a lot more expensive recently.  I would recommend Grove City or even Canal Winchester both are South of Columbus, so easier drive back to SE Ohio.  And those two are nice areas that are cheaper than any surrounding areas of OSU.  Canal has a very nice small town feel, if that is something that is important to them.

mlipps

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 11:33:51 AM »
Hi,
I agree with the earlier post, the COTA (bus) system is getting much better and would be my recommendation, not a lot of other options for public transportation. 

That price point is going to be tough as Columbus has gotten a lot more expensive recently.  I would recommend Grove City or even Canal Winchester both are South of Columbus, so easier drive back to SE Ohio.  And those two are nice areas that are cheaper than any surrounding areas of OSU.  Canal has a very nice small town feel, if that is something that is important to them.

I like the idea of Canal Winchester, but I'm not sure how they'd reliably get into Columbus for appointments from there. I wonder if you can get an Uber from that far out.

des999

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2019, 05:42:22 AM »
Hi,
I agree with the earlier post, the COTA (bus) system is getting much better and would be my recommendation, not a lot of other options for public transportation. 

That price point is going to be tough as Columbus has gotten a lot more expensive recently.  I would recommend Grove City or even Canal Winchester both are South of Columbus, so easier drive back to SE Ohio.  And those two are nice areas that are cheaper than any surrounding areas of OSU.  Canal has a very nice small town feel, if that is something that is important to them.

I like the idea of Canal Winchester, but I'm not sure how they'd reliably get into Columbus for appointments from there. I wonder if you can get an Uber from that far out.

I believe COTA just starting picking up in Canal, I know they drop off downtown, I have not looked into whether or not they do OSU.  But, you could at least get to downtown and change buses.  Not ideal, but I would at least look.

edit to add: I'm positive an Uber would pick them up in Canal.  It's really only 15 miles outside of Columbus.  With the giant brewery BrewDog's opening in Canal (they also have a hotel), they get a lot of people to and from Columbus. 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 05:48:55 AM by des999 »

MoolahLula

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2019, 05:49:05 AM »
If itís OSU and Riverside he needs to get to, what about an apartment on the West Side, maybe somewhere along Norton Road, I believe Iíve driven past 1 story apartment buildings around there.  Grove City may also have something.  If their own driving is becoming a concern, can you set them up with an Uber account that you fund? 

albabewick

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2019, 04:57:17 PM »
Hi,
I'm a Columbus Ohio local, and a caregiver to my elderly mother. Hats off to you for helping from afar; it is not an easy thing to do!

My mom had been disabled for the past 20 years, now nearing 80 years old. She went through breast cancer treatment over the past 2 years through Ohio Health hospitals (mainly Grant Hospital, Riverside Hospital and Doctors Hospital). She has always lived on the West side of town, close to Doctors Hospital.

At times over the past 20 years, she has utilized a service called Senior Options, which coordinates transportation to medical appointments, Meals on Wheels, and a few other services. Costs are on a sliding scale based on income. You need to reside in Franklin County. We had some issues when her main physician moved to Westerville just over the county line - the transport services were unwilling to travel outside the Franklin County area.

Here is a great resource for all things senior-care in Central Ohio - links to Senior Options are on this site as well.
http://www.coaaa.org/

If the medical appointments are the most frequent trip, I would recommend living west of I-71/315 and north of I-70. OSU is centrally located right on 315 and north of 70. Riverside is a few miles north of there off 315. Columbus is a boom town, and traffic and construction are awful everyplace. I live and work near Grandview Heights (close to OSU), and travel to Canal Winchester for my cycling club at rush hour during warm months. I highly recommend avoiding this commute! Assuming you don't need to travel to SE Ohio at rush hour for family visits, you will save so much time during your daily life living close to your most frequent trips. If you visit family once a week duing non-peak hours, the added time from NW Columbus to Canal and beyond will be minimized.

A second choice as someone mentioned would be the west side in general. I live 2 miles west of Upper Arlington in an area with Columbus taxes, but super close to UA, Grandview, Hilliard and all highways. I avoid the insanity of the horrendous East-West traffic, but I am near most things in my daily life. My forays to Canal Winchester are much less frequent, so I endure the gridlock on 33 minimally. In the Columbus/Hilliard area, you may find a bit lower rents than closer to OSU or Upper Arlington (near Riverside).

Feel free to reach out if you need more info or advice, and best wishes to your father on his recovery!


mlipps

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2019, 09:13:21 AM »
You have all been tremendously helpful & I really appreciate it! Albabewick, particular thanks for providing so much detail. I would be curious to hear if your mom has positive experiences with the Senior Options transportation services--it looks like Fairfield and Franklin counties both have similar services but I wasn't sure how reliable they would be. It's encouraging to hear the Franklin county one has been around so long at least!

albabewick

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Re: Calling Columbus, OH Mustachians
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2019, 04:04:26 PM »
mlipps,
I'd say the Senior Options transport has been good overall. Basically they assign you a local cab company, and when you need transport, you schedule with them. The bill goes to Senior Options, who invoices you for your portion of the cost (sliding scale). It's always nice to tip the driver, just like a normal cab. This worked well when my mom could walk with her cane or walker and handle the interaction with the doctor on her own. She needs my help now, so we no longer use that service.

I took a glance at realtor.com just to give you an idea of possibilities with an easy drive to the hospitals you referenced. As you might expect, affordable properties in desirable areas get snapped up quickly, but they are not impossible to find.

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3059-Jersey-Dr_Columbus_OH_43204_M41507-34463?view=qv

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3886-Longton-Dr_Columbus_OH_43221_M45434-55071?view=qv

https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/287-Fenway-Rd-Apt-B_Columbus_OH_43214_M45792-26644?view=qv

Hope this helps!