As 2019 gets underway in full force, legislatures in states across the nation are convening -- some for a few weeks, others for another year-round session. How can we compete for and win the attention of state legislators and draw their focus to aging, disability, and long-term services and supports (LTSS) issues? The LTSS Scorecard is the best tool we have. Every advocate should become familiar with it, particularly with where their state stands compared to others, and visit their state capitol – early and often - with the Scorecard in hand.
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) released its third Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard. The interactive tool measures state performance for creating a high-quality system of care and improving services for older adults and people with physical disabilities, as well as their family caregivers. It encompasses everything from the availability of home and community-based services to access to transportation within a community.
Families and close friends are the most important source of support to older people and adults with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition. They already take personal responsibility for providing increasingly complex care to the tune of $470 billion (as of 2013). That figure, representing family caregivers’ unpaid contribution in dollars, roughly equals the combined sales of the four largest U.S. tech companies (Apple, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, $469 billion) in 2013.
My almost 96-year-old mother is one of about half of older adults with disabilities serious enough to need long-term services and supports. She is nearly blind, has dementia and osteoporosis, and suffers from arthritis. Recently she’s begun to experience back pain too. She lived in her home of over 50 years until it was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. For the past four years she has been living in an assisted living facility in New Jersey, in the community she prefers. Here’s a little of what the experience of my mother — and my family — reveals about the cost of care for older adults with health and self-care needs.
We are a data-driven society. We need data to address the challenges and opportunities facing the 50-plus population. I am pleased to announce that today AARP’s Public Policy Institute launched the AARP DataExplorer , a free website tool that provides a rich collection of data on issues relevant to people age 50 and older.
I recently spent a weekend with eight of my college roommates for our annual get-together. Through the years we've always shared our life events, so it came as no surprise that our conversation turned to the topic of family caregiving. Like millions of fiftysomething women in the U.S. today, my former roomies are struggling to navigate the health care system on behalf of their parents - who now turn to them for help.
A welcome recognition of the value of family caregiving came in a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated the economic value of caregiving for older persons in 2011 to be $234 billion. This estimate vastly exceeds the total amount of paid care from all sources (Medicaid, Medicare, private pay and others) for both institutional care ($134 billion) and home and community-based services ($58 billion).
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