What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …

Paying for Home- and Community-Based Services: Lessons From Oregon

Many older adults need services to stay in their homes or in community-based settings. Getting help with shopping, meal preparation, transportation, medication management, bathing, dressing or mobility can extend community living. But Medicare and private health insurance do not pay for these types of services, and Medicaid (which does) is limited to people with low incomes and almost no savings. As a result, most people pay for these services out of their own pockets. The Symposium Even people who can …

Older Adults and People With Disabilities Want Choice and Control

We all like to have choices. Being able to decide where we live and work, what we eat and how we spend our leisure time all enhance life satisfaction. Having a disability doesn’t diminish the desire for choice. But unfortunately, people with disabilities often lose control over how services are provided when they depend on Medicaid for home- and community-based services (HCBS), such as meal preparation or help with bathing and dressing. It doesn’t have to be this way. Participant-directed …

The Financial Burden of Being a Family Caregiver

Caring for family or friends is not just a matter of love and time, it’s also a matter of dollars and cents. According to a new survey from Caring.com, nearly half of caregivers spend more than $5,000 per year — a whopping $25,000 over the average caregiving stint of five years. And many spend far more. Complicating things is the reluctance of caregivers to talk about finances: Seven out of 10 have not spoken with loved ones about how to …

Family Caregivers Need Support; Are States Meeting the Need?

One day my toddler decided that she was going to push “Gamma” in the wheelchair. She went to the tippy-top of her toes, reached her hands high to grab the handles and then p-u-u-s-s-h-e-d. It clearly wasn’t going to happen without some assistance, but she didn’t see it that way. After several frustrating attempts she looked up at me and said, “Help, Mama, help…” I am one of 42 million Americans who care for an older adult. I also work …

Jackson on the Job: Service Dog Plays Crucial Role in Caregiving Team

At less than a foot tall and under 25 pounds, Mr. Jackson might not seem like the powerhouse that he is in our family. His floppy ears and big brown eyes make him adorable, but it’s the intelligence and sensitivity that are apparent through those eyes that have made him my constant, loyal and vital partner in caregiving for my parents over the past five years. As caregivers, we all need to build a caregiving team - no one can do …