State should help seniors get long-term care without going broke February 9, 2018
February 11, 2018 01:22 PM
Updated February 11, 2018 07:08 PM
As the owner of two adult family homes, I meet people on a regular basis who are unprepared when entering the long-term care system.
They don’t come to us because of their best-laid plans; they show up when there is a crisis.
An example of a common family experience is when Mom might have a stroke or other diagnosis that impacts her independence. Maybe she is seen in the hospital and then referred to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation.
Once rehabilitation is done, Mom may not be able go back home alone. The changes in her independence make home an unsafe discharge. Her only daughter is the mother of three young children, and works full time, so it’s not an option for Mom to live with her daughter.
Most families are not sure what options are available. Can they hire a caregiver full time so that Mom can stay at home? A 24-hour caregiver is about $648 per day in our state.
Adult family homes are a great choice, but even with our low rates, people struggle to find options that work for them.
Once they learn about options they are often shocked to find that Medicare or other health insurance does not cover the costs of long-term care.
Very few families have saved for this possible need, and most Washingtonians over 65 will eventually need long-term care services.
The aging population across the state is set to double by 2030, and the percentage of family members available to provide caregiving support is projected to decline dramatically, leaving Washington facing an impending long-term care financing crisis.
The Long-Term Care Trust Act is an important part of the answer to this growing challenge for families, and our state.
Editorial: Act would help solve looming elder care crisis January 10, 2018
One of the bipartisan success stories from last year’s legislative session was the passage of a long-sought paid-family leave law that put Washington state among only five states with such a law.
The legislation provides workers with up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child or a worker’s or family member’s serious medical issue. Modest payments to workers on leave will be supported through payroll deductions, paid by employees and employers, that begin next year Jan. 1.
The state actually had a family leave law on the books since 2007, but the Legislature had never agreed to a funding mechanism. That changed last year, through bipartisan action.
The paid family leave law recognized the importance of work and family, helping families meet expenses when time away from work was necessary, while helping employers retain valued employees.
Lawmakers again, in addressing an issue that almost all families face, now has legislation before them that offers a similar solution.
According to a fact sheet prepared by Washingtonians for a Responsible Future, about 7 in 10 Americans, 65 or older, will need long-term care services, such as in-home or nursing home care, during their lifetimes. But neither Medicare, nor most health insurance plans provide for long-term care, which can include help with bathing, dressing, eating and hygiene. Care is available through Medicaid, but individuals must impoverish themselves to be eligible.
Easing the Burden on Caregivers December 15, 2017
New York Times
By Maureen Towey
Washington has been a leader in long-term care for many years. In 2017, it was ranked first in the quality and execution of long-term care in a study commissioned by AARP and several partner organizations. Representative Laurie Jinkins, a Democrat, and Representative Norm Johnson, a Republican, introduced a bill last winter called the Long-Term Care Trust Act, which would provide universal long-term care in the state. Everyone would contribute through a payroll deduction, and everyone would be guaranteed a long-term benefit if needed. The program would provide $100 a day to support caregiving across a range of care situations including at-home care, assisted living and nursing homes. Washingtonians have a strong track record of passing legislation on a similar model, including universal paid family leave in 2017 and universal paid sick leave in 2016. The bill is expected to be reintroduced in early 2018.
Your Story, Your Power September 26, 2017
This short video works to capture our collective experiences as family caregivers. For others to fully understand what happens when we care for our aging loved ones, they need to hear firsthand from us about the hard work and love that goes into being a family caregiver.
This year we are going to introduce a piece of legislation that tells our state lawmakers that it is time to put the cost of long-term supports and services on their agenda. But in order for this to happen, they need to hear from you.
No matter how long-term services and supports has impacted your life, your story matters. Whether you help your aging loved ones full time and have left work or if you spend a few hours a week helping with doctors appointments you are a family caregiver and your story matters! If you have spent down your life savings to afford long-term supports and services, your story matters. Now is the time to share your story!
Who Will Provide Care for Childless Boomers? August 30, 2017
Next AvenueHealth & Wellbeing:
The last piece of real estate Pam and Bruce Boyer purchased together was more than 20 years ago: adjoining plots in the cemetery across the street from their home in historic Bethlehem, Pa.
“We chose a place we really like. We walk there – it’s like a park in London,” says Pam Boyer, 68, a retired magazine researcher whose husband is a freelance writer. “We got it taken care of early before it seemed morbid – or too homey,” she adds with a laugh.
How to Keep Long-Term Care From Bankrupting Us July 16, 2017
When policymakers, health care analysts and financial journalists talk about the staggering costs of long-term care, it’s often wonky, devoid of humanity. We throw around statistics like this one from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 52 percent of individuals turning 65 will require long-term care supports and services at some point in their lives. But at a Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) webinar yesterday pegged to its new report on long-term care financing solutions, family caregiver MaryAnne Sterling poignantly revealed the financial, physical and mental tolls that long-term care can take.
Yes, We Can Create A Universal Long-Term Care Insurance Program June 27, 2017
Forbes Personal Finance:
For three years, I’ve been working with a diverse group of policy experts to create a consensus framework for financing long-term supports and services (LTSS). This morning, the Long-Term Care Financing Collaborative, released its recommendations. And they are built around two major reforms: a new universal catastrophic long-term care insurance program and major improvements to Medicaid’s LTSS benefit.
Our insurance proposal would create an alternative to Medicaid for many middle-income people who now impoverish themselves paying for both long-term care and related medical expenses.
Our plan recognizes that everyone who needs care is not the same. A 45-year old with MS has very different needs than an 85-year-old widow with dementia. Similarly, people with high lifetime incomes should be expected to pay for a share of their care through personal savings, home equity, or private insurance. Others will never have the resources to finance their care.
The New York Times: Health Care? Daughters Know All About It May 12, 2017
The New York Times Health Article:
As Washington debates the relative merits of Obamacare or Trumpcare, many families have already come up with what is arguably the most reliable form of care in America: It’s called daughter care.
The essential role that daughters play in the American health care system is well known but has received little attention. But some health care analysts are beginning to sound the alarm about the challenges women face as caregivers — not just for children but for aging parents — often while holding full-time jobs.