Does your state support services for older Americans, family caregivers?

Family caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion in unpaid care annually, helping their older parents, spouses and others to live independently at home—and out of costly institutional care, often paid for by Medicaid. But now, in a number of states as governors and legislatures negotiate their state’s annual budgets, critical assistance on which family caregivers and their loved ones rely on is at risk. Proposed cuts to home care, adult day services, meals-on-wheels and more have real consequences for families. …

Friend, Caregiver, Fighter: One Woman’s Story

As National Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’d like to share the story of my friend Audrey — a woman whose compassion, perseverance, strength and resilience certainly merit an honorable mention in the Women’s Hall of Fame. I met Audrey more than 30 years ago, when she was preparing to leave her own home to move in to care for her father. Like millions of American women do every day, she balanced working full time with family caregiving. …

When Utility Companies Want to Raise Your Rates …

Meet Shirlee C. of South Minneapolis. As a senior on a fixed income, she takes a financial hit every time her utility rate increases. She can’t afford for her bill to keep going up, but her utility company, Xcel Energy, is asking for another $123 a year by 2016. If approved, this would be the seventh rate increase for Minnesotans in just 10 years! Shirlee, and all Americans, should have to pay only what is reasonable for reliable service — and …

Burt’s Bees Founder Still a Maverick at Age 79

Burt Shavitz, the 79-year-old founder of Burt’s Bees cosmetics, lives the life of a recluse. And he’s very happy about it. “There’s no noise,” Shavitz, 79, told the New York Times by way of describing his 40-acre spread in northern Maine. “There’s no children screaming. There’s no people getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning and trying to start their car and raising hell. Everybody has their own idea of what a good place to be is, and this is …

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 …