Many of us are at that point where just as our kids need us less, our parents need us more. We have moved away from the old “nuclear family” concept, when generations often lived together or near by. Now, juggling a job, home, kids, and parents becomes a tremendous exercise in stress. MetLife estimates that 10 million adult children over age 50 now care for an aging parent.
It’s overwhelming just to think about it, let alone do it. The National Institute on Aging offers a free booklet, Twenty Questions and Answers About Long-Distance Caregiving that helps caregivers deal with many of the issues that surround aging relatives – whether it’s helping them cope with declining physical abilities, to setting up a system for household finances. Another good source for some additional ideas on caregiving and older parents is this recent US News & World Report article.
When was the last time you thought about whether someone else was getting good healthcare? Despite the progress we have made as a country in developing high-tech equipment, state-of-the-art hospitals, and breakthrough research, there are still huge segments of the population that don’t have readily available, high-quality care, and as a result, suffer many avoidable health problems.
The recent CDC Report on Health Disparities in America took an in-depth look at how health inequities impact our citizens and potential solutions to address this national problem. To backtrack, health disparities refers to the ongoing imbalance between the health status of minorities and non-minorities in the United States. This report is the first of what will become a regular series of reports on healthcare in the U.S. It looked at health differences among groups in a number of categories, including income, race and ethnicity, education, gender, disability status and other socio-economic factors.
Most of us don’t like to think about the day when we can no longer work because of a disability, or might need some kind of help with the basics of living as we age. However, it was something the late Senator Ted Kennedy thought about a lot. He knew that many Americans would eventually need some kind of extended care, and he also knew that most people preferred to stay at home, in their community, rather than going to a nursing home. His legacy is the CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports), a provision of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka health reform.
What the CLASS Act means is that you, or any working adult, may voluntarily choose to pay into a special long-term care pool; after five years you become vested. Once vested, you can receive benefits, regardless of age, diagnosis, or pre-existing condition. The caveat is that you have to be working – if you are already retired you cannot join this Continue reading →