Genworth's 7th Annual Cost of Care Survey Finds that the Cost of Americans' Preferred Setting for Long Term Care is Rising Far Less than Other Options
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Senior care a major economic player
By Paul Hogan
The effort to rein in galloping health care costs — which no less a figure than Warren Buffett has described as “a tapeworm eating at our economic body” — is rarely mentioned in the same sentence with job creation. In fact, most policymakers probably assume the two goals are on a collision course.
It doesn’t have to be that way. To deal with its exploding population of senior citizens, the nation will need to add millions of new jobs in the years ahead. If Washington approaches this phenomenon wisely, the U.S. can reap the benefits of that job growth without sending the health care bill spiraling.
The first of the baby boomers turn 65 next year. At 78 million strong, they will make tremendous demands for several decades on the senior-care system. To meet this surge, the nation must add doctors, nurses, technicians, social workers, administrators and home-care attendants.
Senior care is, when seen properly, a growth market for jobs. Washington should welcome this development, not attempt to squelch it.
I understand, of course, that the nation’s health care costs must be curbed. But the way to go about that is to clamp down on waste and abuse, from costly and unnecessary medical procedures to fraud in Medicare and Medicaid.
Senior care isn’t in that category. As long as it is honestly and efficiently delivered, it is an absolutely necessary expense, and policymakers make a dangerous error when they fail to distinguish it from what must be cut.
I also understand that government alone cannot bear the cost of caring for the senior population. After all, by 2025, the number of people over 65 will be 72 million, nearly double what it was in 2000. Annual cost will run into hundreds of billions.
But there is an obvious solution: a partnership between the public sector — government — and the private sector — businesses, nonprofits and charitable organizations.
Washington should offer incentives and subsidies to drive the private sector’s activities while continuing to provide its safety net of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. State and local governments that operate public hospitals, agencies for the aging and senior centers should continue those services too.
The private sector should shoulder pretty much everything else. And, in fact, it does a lot of that now, far more than most Americans probably realize — from running profit and nonprofit hospitals, to home-care agencies, to retirement and assisted living communities, to hospices.
But the private side of the senior-care system isn’t growing fast enough to meet the coming need. That’s why the public sector should step in with incentives and subsidies.
It’s a win-win-win situation. A growing elder-care industry will create millions of jobs, generating income- and sales-tax revenues for cash-strapped governments. It will relieve government of the full cost of caring for the senior boomers. And it will make it possible for seniors to age with care, dignity and comfort.
How big is the potential senior-care job market? To cite just two of many categories, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimates than in the next 15 years the nation will need to add 260,000 nurses. The number of new home-care workers required in just the next six years is 1 million.
Washington can take many steps to stimulate this job growth, for example:
● Low interest loans for students specializing in geriatric care.
● Tax credits for graduates who pledge to work in underserved regions of the country.
● Creation of a Senior Corps similar to the Peace Corps and Americorps.
● Tax credits for long-term-care insurance policies that cover affordable options like home care.
● A public education campaign to help seniors make the wisest and most affordable choices.
That last point is a special concern. A survey sponsored by my company found a disturbing lack of information among seniors and their adult children about care options and their costs. The danger is that poorly informed people will make choices that are both too expensive — for example, a high-cost nursing home instead of low-cost home care — and wrong for their stage in the aging process.
The first step is for policymakers to understand that quality senior care and job creation are a perfect match. The realization is bound to dawn eventually — demanding boomers will see to that. So why wait? Start now.
Paul Hogan is CEO of Home Instead Senior Care and with his wife, Lori, co-author of “Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions.”
Monday, April 26, 2010
Join Baptist Health System's Senior Choices program as Dr. Stephen Sokell, podiatrist at Princeton Baptist, discusses preventative measures and treatment options for common foot problems. The free seminar will be held at Princeton Towers on Tuesday, April 27 from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.
"Foot problems affect so many aspects of everyday life," said Vonceil Sanders, manager of senior programs and services for Baptist Health System. "Dr. Sokell will provide great insight on how to effectively deal with problems that many seniors face."
For more information on the event, please contact Sanders at 1-800-450-5099 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Senior Choices - Senior Choices is a membership program for people age 50 and older and is sponsored by the Baptist Health System. A wide variety of benefits, discounts and services that promote health and wellness are available to Senior Choice members. For more information, call toll free 1-800-450-5099 or visit Senior Services online at www.bhsala.com
Thursday, April 22, 2010
If a senior has a regular route through the grocery store or to the mailbox, she may want to try a different route. Research has revealed that such a technique exercises the brain.
Or, if an older adult can’t leave the house, help your senior break a routine. Drink tea in the afternoon instead of coffee in the morning. If he reads the newspaper in the morning and watches television in the afternoon, suggest that he try switching that around. Make a note of what she likes and doesn’t like about the new order.
While she is going about her day, ask your mom to use her opposite hand to open doors and brush her teeth. Or suggest to dad he wear his watch on the opposite wrist. These activities will help their brains re-think daily tasks.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Home Instead Senior Care®
To us, it’s personal®
In the News
As the world’s largest source of companionship and non-medical home care services for seniors, Home Instead Senior Care network is the organization that seniors and their families rely on for trusted, consistent care. And others have taken notice: Over the years, we’ve been sought out as a respected voice on senior issues, including aging in place, at-home care, Alzheimer’s and dementia concerns, as well as an advocate for this growing segment of our population. Here’s just a sample of the national media—representing many interests and industries—who have called on our experience and expertise:
TIME magazine on Home Instead Senior Care Co-Founders Paul and Lori Hogan: "With people over age 65 rising from 7% to 15% of the world’s population by 2050, Hogan and his wife Lori were the first to franchise a new senior-care niche: non-medical companion caregivers." Source: TIME magazine, September 14, 2009
Woman’s Day magazine quotes Paul Hogan, Home Instead Senior Care Co-Founder and coauthor of the bestselling book, Stages of Senior Care, about discussing senior care options: “Use the 40/70 Rule…When you are 40 or your parents are 70, talk to them about their preferences.” Source: Woman’s Day magazine, March 2010
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance interviews Home Instead Senior Care client Charles McCarthy and CAREGiver Ron Murphy: For McCarthy, the interaction provides a welcome break in what would otherwise be a solitary day. “Ron and I get along great. We share the same sense of humor,” says McCarthy. Adds Murphy, “It’s like working with a friend.” Source: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, November 2009
The New York Times interviews Paul Hogan, Co-Founder and CEO of Home Instead Senior Care, about his family’s experience in providing care for his grandmother and subsequently starting a senior care company: “My family had learned that it’s one thing to prepare a meal for a person who lives alone, but it’s something else entirely to have someone there to encourage them to eat it. Having someone there to remind people to take their medication is also helpful.” Source: The New York Times, February 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Local Senior Care Company Advises Family Caregivers to Help Older Adults De-Clutter During Spring Cleaning to Avoid Home Dangers
While clutter is not a problem unique to seniors, conditions of aging including strokes, brain trauma and dementia can lead to disorder and chaos that could threaten seniors’ home safety and independence, experts say. It’s a problem all too familiar to family caregivers.
“A lifetime accumulation of possessions combined with an influx of daily junk mail, bills, newspapers and magazines can quickly overwhelm seniors who are struggling physically, mentally or emotionally,” said Dan Pahos, owner of the local Home Instead Senior Care franchise office serving the Birmingham area.
Experts say even seniors who simply don’t know how to part with their possessions are vulnerable. The risks are many from slipping on loose papers to the threat of fire to the health effects of mold and mildew. Clutter can also interfere with family relationships and leave adult children wondering if the only inheritance awaiting them is a big mess.
“Spring is a great time for family caregivers to help seniors de-clutter for their own health and
well-being,” Pahos said.
“Cluttering – for those with this tendency – probably has been happening for years, but a ‘trigger episode’ such as going into a wheelchair or a health issue could worsen the problem,” said Katherine “Kit” Anderson, CPO-CD, president of the non-profit National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD) and a certified professional organizer. While the source of clutter can be anything from outdated medications to a kitchen full of unused pots and pans, paper is the biggest clutter culprit, Anderson said.
“It’s sort of the elephant in the room,” added Dr. Catherine Roster, a University of New Mexico clutter researcher. “People don’t want to acknowledge there is a problem, which creates an underlying anxiety, stress, guilt or embarrassment that can have a negative effect on their mental health and productivity. There are a lot of issues including economics. When there is general disorganization, people lose important documents and can’t find bills and then miss payments. So some serious issues start affecting them. All the research shows that people are slow to recognize the problem.”
In order to identify potential trouble, the Home Instead Senior Care network is alerting family caregivers to watch for the signs in a senior’s home that indicate clutter creep could become a problem including piles of mail and unpaid bills, difficulty walking safely through a home and frustration on the part of a senior trying to organize.
“Family caregivers can become just as overwhelmed as seniors,” said Home Instead Senior Care’s Pahos. “We suggest a three-step plan where the family caregiver brings three bins -- one for the stuff the senior wants to keep, one for donations and the other for trash. Sometimes seniors just need a little help.”