“Like climate change, the aging of America demands a serious rethinking of the way we live.”
“Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times”
by Sysan Jacoby
“One of the paradoxes of this presidential campaign is that while many of the candidates are in their eighth decade of life, fundamental issues associated with the aging of American society are still receiving relatively little attention from the public, the press and politicians themselves. In 2031, the oldest baby boomers will turn 85, entering the land of the ‘old old’ and facing exponentially higher risk for dementia, serious physical disabilities and long-term dependency.
“Like climate change, the aging of America demands serious reconsideration of the way we live. Confronting the issue and its many implications, from Medicare’s failure to cover long-term care to the ethics of physician-assisted dying, requires what seems to be the most difficult task for human beings — thinking about the future.
“In November, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that the birthrate among women of childbearing age had dropped to a record low, continuing a sharp decline in births that began around the financial crisis of 2008. At the same time, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported an increased death rate in the 25- to 64-year-old age group, with the main causes thought to be opioid overdoses, alcoholism and suicide.”
On November 13, 2019, Pennsylvania announced it will formally request a Good Faith Effort Exemption from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay the implementation of the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) mandate to allow for necessary time for providers of Personal Care Services to fully prepare for EVV. The state is seeking an extension to allow additional time for providers using Alternate EVV systems to go through the necessary testing and become integrated to feed EVV data to the DHS Aggregator. If approved by CMS, the extension will allow the Department of Human Services (DHS) to extend the soft launch period and implement a tiered compliance structure before the denial of payments. If the Good Faith Effort Exemption is denied, EVV will be mandated as of January 1, 2020. DHS will update stakeholders on the Good Faith Effort Exemption request response from CMS.
Care of older adults is mired in misinformation, with most older patients and caregivers mistakenly believing that sharp declines in quality of life are inevitable, according to a new survey from The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) and WebMD. Driving Towards Age-Friendly Care for the Future, a survey of more than 2,700 older patients and caregivers, found:
- More than 40% of respondents believe depression is an inevitable part of aging;
- Three in four older adults are not aware that they have the right to ask for, and receive, health care that is tailored to what matters to them;
- Nearly 40% of respondents did not know that some prescription medications can impact cognition.
The survey underscores the importance of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, a national movement led by JAHF and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the US, which is helping hospitals and health systems provide age-friendly care that focuses on the “4Ms.”
Beth Beth Salamon is an only child taking care of her mother, who has dementia. Above, they are pictured in 2009. (Courtesy of Beth Salamon)
by Rose Conlon
“When Holly Hill’s grandfather entered hospice in June, she watched his four children — including her mother — come together as a team to care for him and support each other. But Hill, who’s an only child, couldn’t help but wonder what things might look like when it was her own mother who needed care.
“‘My mom even said to me at one point, “You can’t do it all on your own. You have to take breaks,” remembered Hill. ‘And I thought to myself, “Who’s going to give me a break?”
“Hill, 39, a first grade teacher and a mother herself, lives two hours away from her parents. She hopes they’ll move closer to her before they start needing more care, but it’s a hard sell. They’ve lived in the same house for 40 years — the one her dad built.”
“Credit Lynsey Weatherspoon for The New York Times
“Daughters said they sacrificed careers when their relatives wouldn’t. Others said hiring help sapped finances. And more than a few found treasured final moments with loved ones despite the overwhelming work of caring for them.
“After The Times published a pair of articles on elder care — one about a Connecticut home health aide and another about women forgoing careers to care for older relatives — hundreds of our readers shared their own experiences with the hardships of trying to make the final years of a loved one’s life comfortable.
“Many of the readers said they had parents and other relatives who fit squarely in a growing demographic in the United States of elder-boomers who want to spend their final years at home.
“Below is a selection of the reader comments … “
“Gloria Brown is the primary caregiver for her husband, Arthur, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer\’s disease four years ago. (Emma Marie Chiang for California Healthline)
by Samantha Young
“Gloria Brown didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Her husband, Arthur Brown, 79, has Alzheimer’s disease and had spent most of the night pacing their bedroom, opening and closing drawers, and putting on and taking off his jacket.
“So Gloria, 73, asked a friend to take Arthur out for a few hours one recent afternoon so she could grab a much-needed nap. She was lucky that day because she didn’t need to call upon the home health aide who comes to their house twice a week.
“The price of paying for help isn’t cheap: The going rate in the San Francisco Bay Area ranges from $25 to $35 an hour. Gloria Brown estimates she has spent roughly $72,000 on caregivers, medications and supplies since her husband was diagnosed four years ago.
“‘The cost can be staggering,’ said state Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), author of a bill that would give family caregivers in California a tax credit of up to $5,000 annually to help offset their expenses.”
Click here to continue reading this Kaiser Health News article.
Lancaster, PA – March, 2019 – Integrated Platform Services LLC today announced a new subscription check-in and reporting service for families of seniors who live independently. The service, named Constance™, targets the families of the 87% of Americans over the age of 65 who, according to AARP, would prefer to live on their own.
Constance™ provides daily human interaction with seniors to check on mood, meals, medications, appointments, and more. The check-ins are used to generate electronic updates for family members — typically members of the “sandwich generation” who find it increasingly difficult to balance support for their aging parents with managing their own busy lives. With a focus on overall wellbeing, Constance™ addresses the most important factors impacting healthcare outcomes: early detection of medical conditions, care plan adherence, and social engagement.
The service is delivered by carefully selected and trained team who call each senior for a personalized, one-on-one conversation. Unlike other personal care services, the reports are immediately available to family members via a smartphone app on iOS and Android devices.
Families using the service have confidence that the needs of their loved one will be identified and reported, allowing them to continue living independently. Constance subscriber Suzette Mullen commented, “My sister and I look forward to getting the reports every day. The daily updates have really connected us as we navigate (my mom’s) care from a distance.” Members also look forward to interacting with the Constance Family Coordinators. A senior using the service, Patricia Roberts, recently said, “It made me feel very safe to know you were calling me this morning.”
CEO and cofounder Henry Yaeger commented, “We started Constance because we want to apply business solutions to a huge and growing societal challenge. Demographic shifts and longer distances are leaving families unprepared for the demands of supporting their loved ones as they age. Our service allows seniors to continue to live independently, while giving their families the comfort of knowing they are always being looked after.”
– news release
Constance is a service of Integrated Platform Services LLC, a company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Constance helps seniors maintain independence by facilitating communication between seniors, their family members, and others. The high-touch service is supported by a cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant platform that enables the Constance team to efficiently provide services, while native mobile apps keep family members informed. Constance is a Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources partner entity.
This is an opinion statement from Laurie Orlov’s blog at Aging in Place Technology Website.
“Where the baby (or elderly family member) may be. The WSJ investigation of Care.com has only added a level of urgency about the risky business of finding and placing caregivers in homes. Consider the Care.com CEO’s egregious assertion that “Care.com is a marketplace platform, like Indeed or LinkedIn.” Really, finding someone to watch your baby or your aging father is analogous to finding a worker to fill a job opening in your IT department or seeking a manager to fill out your org chart? And having nasty problems with convicted criminals taking on caregiving roles, resulting in occurring in multiple states, but never aggregating those into a nationwide picture of a horror show, until research into incidents was done by a Stanford MBA student? Read that link, please.
“What’s wrong with this picture of oversight? Fixing the Care.com background checking fiasco will take ‘more than babysitting money.’ No kidding. It will take vote-with-their feet feedback from the firm’s investors and especially the customers.”