There is a lot going on today with technology to help as we age and when we need long term support and services.
Wanted to share two videos on technology now being used to help with caregiving. They were created by the Center for Aging Services Technologies an association of foundations, academic and applied researchers, and health and social service providers.
The first video on the page is – Imagine – the Future of Aging. It’s described as “a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of what the future of aging could look like with help from developing technologies that are possible, practical, and affordable.”
It is about eight minutes, provides comments from various individuals, and is well worth the time. I believe, you won’t think – oh – technology is going to overwhelm us. Instead – this can be a big help.
Many of the technology based services mentioned in the video are available today from a Connecticut based firm. They have many other products, which may be useful in your planning for a loved one.
In the second two minute plus video – Transforming an Aging Nation – “industry experts describe how these technologies can potentially improve health care, preserve independence, and ensure quality of life for seniors.
This “helping technology” will be a step toward enabling people to continue their independence and to offset the shortage of professional caregivers.
The support and assistance “Care Givers” provide to an ever increasing portion of our population is significant and very important. Thus, this post is a step to:
● Help increase and improve understanding of some of the issues those providing this important assistance face.
● Highlight an effective way to not burden family members with this task.
● Emphasize there is an economical way to pay for this important assistance.
Let’s begin with a definition: A Care Giver is an individual who provides substantial assistance to a person not able to perform certain day to day life activities. This need may develop following an illness or accident, which could happen at any time, or later in life when some of a person’s “parts wore out”. This help, when required and needed on an on-going basis, is called long term care services and support. It includes providing assistance with day to day activities such as eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, or transferring from or to say a bed or chair. One very common reason for needing this special kind of help today is when a person is having trouble with mental ability such as with Alzheimer’s.
How common is the need for Care Giving? It’s very common. For example:
● When we stop and think – over 80% of us have a relative, or know someone, who is now or has received help.
● Facts tell us – by age 75, 70% or more of us will need help.
How much time does a Care Giver spend? This task often starts by providing a little assistance, say each day, and builds over time. A recent Working Mother Research Institute study found Care Givers helping individuals troubled with mental ability problems spend an average of 47 hours a week.
Paying for Care Givers. The most effective way for an individual’s family members to not face the physical, emotional, and financial burden, which comes with being a Care Giver, is to buy Long Term Care insurance. How so? When a person owns this special kind of insurance a pool of funds is created, which is then available to hire professional assistance when a health care professional indicates it’s required.
Having this special kind of financial protection insurance to pay for professional Care Givers means:
● Family members are free to manage the person’s assistance; care about them; plus help as they can.
● Children will not be faced with providing personal care to a parent, which is a very emotional and difficult task!
● The person’s savings and retirement funds for a spouse are protected from being used up.
● The person will be able to maintain as much independence as possible. A recent survey found people, especially those in a later life stage, are very concerned about being able to maintain independence. 64% were concerned about having to move out of their home. Note: Only 7% expressed being afraid of dying.
All of this emphasizes why Long Term Care insurance is the most effective and economical way to pay for professional Care Givers.
Lets now look at the workplace and Care Givers who are working. Some comments:
84% of employees who have a Care Giving responsibility for an aging parent or family member are frequently distracted during working hours coordinating or following up on assistance. This distraction has a large impact on productivity and is known as “presenteeism”.
An AARP Public Policy Institute study reports Care Giving, while working, is a complicated and emotionally charged time. Some of the major changes in a person’s work situation include:
● 83% of employee Care Givers arrive late; leave early; or take time off during the day
● 41% have to take a leave of absence
● 37% having to change from full to part time
● 35% have to give up working
Some working Care Givers describe this as being torn between two jobs!
The Working Mother study provided additional details on the impact on employers:
● About 40% of Care Givers in the workplace said they passed up a promotion.
● Others reported having a sense of isolation and did not think they were doing their best on the job.
A Families and Work Institute study looked at the impact of Care Giving in the future and indicated:
● “49% of workers expect to care for an older family member or friend in the next five years.”
Bottom line: The most economical and effective way to have access to professional Care Givers and the valuable service they provide is by owning Long Term Care insurance. This need is growing rapidly and the impact it will have in the workplace and on employers is significant!
© John C. Parker, RHU, Long Term Care Professional, July, 18 2012
Learn more – http://www.LongTermCareIns-CT.com