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 …

Help for Family Caregivers

While traveling to Erie, Pa., for a town meeting on family caregiving, I was reflecting on my family roots. A little more than 100 years ago, my Lithuanian grandparents immigrated to America and made Shenandoah, Pa., their first hometown. My grandfather worked in the coal mines and my grandmother, fluent in six languages, worked various jobs while raising five children – one of whom was my mom. My grandparents taught me about hard work and perseverance, and my parents taught …

Improving the Performance of State Systems of Long-Term Services and Supports

Imagine that you have been named CEO of an underperforming major corporation. Your competitors outperform your company on some measures by ratios of 3 or 4 to 1. Consumers prefer the products of your competitors by similar lopsided margins. Your operating costs are lower than most, but your equipment and management processes are antiquated and result in unnecessary inefficiencies and poor quality products. What would you do? In the business world, you would need to match the efforts of your …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun    1. Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., has the world’s fastest, tallest and steepest wooden roller coaster. (Learn more at ABCNews.com) 2. Nearly 60 percent of the Americans who bought health insurance through new online marketplaces were previously uninsured – most of them for at least two years. (Learn more at AARP)   3. More than one in every 10 cars on the road in the United States have been recalled so far this year. (Learn more …

Supporting Seniors, Family Caregivers: Where Does Your State Rank?

My sister always says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  I was reminded of this adage when I heard Loren Colman, Minnesota assistant commissioner of continuing care, explain how Minnesota is consistently ranked at the top of the nation when it comes to providing support for seniors and their family caregivers. “We planned,” he said.  Indeed, Minnesota developed a plan decades ago to transform the way the state would deliver long-term care services to older residents in their …

States Start Shifting Focus to Help Seniors Live Independently, at Home

“We need to ‘spring’ your mother,” Pop, who loved prison movies, told me over the phone while asking me to come home that weekend. Mom had been in a rehabilitation center for two weeks following a bad fall and a hospital stay. Both she and Pop were ready for her to go home. My mom and pop, like most Americans, wanted to stay in their home and community as they aged. Pop became the primary family caregiver for Mom, and …