California low grade for long-term services for elderly and disabled

September 11, 2011 by  
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According to a story in the Ventura County Star, California has been ranked 15th among the states on providing long-term services for older adults and the disabled. This report was based on a study by the AARP Public Policy Institute. The findings by the Institute show that California ranks last in support for caregivers and the quality of life of those needing care. The report also points out that much of the problem in all states is the budget cuts in the area of public programs.

Dehydration a concern for both caregiver and aging and ill patients

August 24, 2010 by  
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Dehydration manifests itself similar to many diseases. As people age, they are more prone to becoming dehydrated. Similarly, those who are ill must strive to stay hydrated to maintain quality of life. Many times it is up to the caregiver to determine the hydration level of the care receiver. In order for the caregiver to be able to monitor the patient, the caregiver must also be hydrated. I know when I was my aunt’s caregiver my attention was always directed at her health, not mine. I carefully monitored her liquid intake without ever thinking about mine. Looking back, I know that some of my fatigue, headaches, and lack of focus were because I was not staying hydrated myself. The aging parents and elder care site provides a very good discussion of the signs and symptoms of dehydration and a list of the water content in foods that you can offer your patient and munch on yourself.

Modular cottages for caregiver’s backyard

July 21, 2010 by  
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I know people always ask me if I will move to my mom’s house if she ever needs constant care. My house is only 1100 sq feet and I have 5 dogs so having my elderly mom in the house would be a hazard. There may be a solution for those who have the funds. According to the Roanoke Times, a pastor came up with the idea of a modular backyard care home and a prototype is about ready. These cottages could be purchased or rented. These cottages will be produced by N2Care in Salem. The MedCottage is 12 by 24 feet and will eventually be outfitted specific to the needs of the person residing in the cottage. Check it out. This is an incredible idea and it could truly minimize caregiver stress.

Family Caregiver Alliance makes recommendations on caregiving policy in California

March 5, 2010 by  
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The Family Caregiver Alliance has drafted a report titled Recommendation on caregiver and long-term care services in California. As a Californian, I know that the economic downturn has impacted the financial status of many of my friends who are caregivers. According to the paper, 44% of the caregivers surveyed indicated that the state cutbacks had effected the services that their loved ones received from social services. This in turn increased their stress levels. Additionally, the report found that 44% of the respondents had a cut in pay or hours. While, 15% of those surveyed lost their job. The study found that the state’s fastest growing age group are seniors. Between 2000 and 2020, Californians age 65 and above are expected to increase by a dramatic 75.4%. This number is compared to a 29.4% increase for the state’s population overall. These findings are the reason that the report provides recommendations for state policy that promote employment friendly policies for caregivers; more funding for caregiver support and services for those needing care; and provide caregiver friendly policies and programs. For those of us who have been a primary caregiver or know someone in that position, we can get behind the policy recommendations of the Family Caregiver Alliance. Checkout the complete set of recommendations around the summary that I have provided. Let me know what you think.

Contact your legislator about helping to get caregiver legislation passed to help veterans

December 25, 2009 by  
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S 1963 in the Senate and HR 3155 are bills that would provide training for caregivers to help our injured and ill veterans. As in the Health Care Reform legislation, the differences between the Congressional bill and the Senate Bill are holding up needed legislation to help our brave veterans get the the best help to rehabilitate and/or provide the best care possible for the mental, psychological, and physical issues. With all of the innovations in medical care, veterans that would have died in years past are living with many problems. We need to support our troops with providing them with the best trained caregivers available. Additionally, so many of the military people have been on tours of duty more than being home. These personnel and veterans are affected by post traumatic stress and other stress related disorders. We need to support them by contacting our legislators and get them to compromise on the bills and pass a bill that will provide the help to our servicemen and women and veterans that they deserve. Contact your legislator.

Senator Edward Kennedy’s contribution to affordable Long Term Insurance

November 24, 2009 by  
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The Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act 2009 was introduced by Senator Kennedy (S. 697) and Congressman Jack Pallone (H.R. 1721). According to the fact sheet put out by the Alliance for Retired Americans, Medicare covers very little of the long term services needed and one must have less than $2000 in savings to qualify for Medicaid. Hence, people are forced into institutions and poverty if they require long term medical services. Furthermore, over 40% of people will need over 2 years of long term services and support. Think about what this is costing taxpayers and caregivers who must help cover these costs if they want their family member to get quality care. The bill would create a National Insurance Program supported through voluntary payroll deductions of anyone working 18 years of age and older. This large pool of people in the program will decrease the cost of Long Term Services and Support.

The lack of Long Term Health Insurance is not only a drain on the finances of the person directly affected but also family and friends that chip in to make sure their loved one is properly cared for. We all need to not only have access to affordable health care, we should have access to affordable Long Term Health Care. Contact your legislative representative and make sure that you let him/her know that you want the Class Act to pass.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

November 8, 2009 by  
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On October 30, 2009, President Obama proclaimed November to be National Family Caregivers Month. In his proclamation, President Obama highlighted two programs that should help family caregivers in their quest to balance their personal and professional lives with their care of family or friends; The National Family Caregiver Support Program and the Lifespan Respite Care Act. The National Family Caregivers Month was started by the National Family Caregivers Association to thank, support, and educate family caregivers. I believe that one of goals of all organizations trying to support and educate family caregivers is to help those who see themselves as the niece caring for her aunt with breast cancer or the son caring for his elderly parents identify themselves as caregivers. I believe this is critical because until people identify themselves as family caregivers instead of family members helping those they love most of the legislation and organizational support available will not be requested or sought out.

Great program to help caregivers feed elderly parents

October 15, 2009 by  
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I know that it is hard to determine what my mom is eating. I am a long distance caregiver. I ask every day what she eats. Many times she cannot remember. When I am there for a few days, she seems to eat all the right things. However, I don’t cook like I should because of my limited time with her. Hence, we go out and she is not getting the complete nutrition she needs. She now is pre-osteoporosis so she needs more calcium. I have suggested meals on wheels to her but she has had friends say that the food is inconsistent. A program in Albany has been created to help with the stress caregivers feel trying to feed their elderly relatives and friends. The program called “Cooking under pressure.” This program provides a handbook with shopping tips, recipes, and actual help plan and shop for meals. You can checkout this website for more resources. All of us that have cared for family with cancer or other illnesses, as well as our elderly parents, know that trying to find food that is good for them and that they will eat is one of the most difficult aspects of caregiving. I know that when I was caring for my aunt with breast cancer, I went up and down the aisle looking for things I had not thought of before. Hopefully, there are programs such as this in your area.

Property tax “work off” programs for seniors over 60

September 9, 2009 by  
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Massachusetts has a state law that allows cities to develop a property tax work off laws for people over 60. According to the article in, some cities set the program at people over 60, some over 65. The seniors can work in areas in the city or town and receive vouchers up to $750 toward their property taxes. Seniors must fill out an applications and get on a list. They are selected based on pairing the requirements of the job that needs to be done and the skills of the seniors in the program. Massachusetts is not the only state that has implemented such programs. The governor of Maine also signed a bill into law in April 2008 that allows a tax “work off” program for seniors over 60. There is some debate in Maine about the bill because the seniors the state pays the taxes on the money earned by the seniors. Hence, some believe that it is the other taxpayers covering the costs of the program. However, the IRS considers the money earned from the program as income. South Carolina and areas of Colorado have similar bills. In all cases, the seniors are paid between approximately minimum wage for their labor. The amount of the voucher they can earn and the age the programs start vary dependent on state, city, and town. It seems like a pretty good idea. After all, the states will typically get mature, skilled workers for jobs that may go to unskilled labor. Check your state and send this information to your state representatives to try and get something like this implemented in your area.

Silent majority must stand up for health care reform

August 30, 2009 by  
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We have seen on the news some clearly misinformed people yelling and disrupting the town hall meetings on health care reform. We have seen many older people worried about whether they will be getting less care to fund care for others. Many of these people have relevant concerns about the lack of clear, concise information about what might REALLY be in a health care reform bill. Others are basing their dissent on fear based on the misinformation put out by opponents of the health care reform. What we need is for President Obama to step up and put down on paper what he will not negotiate on and what he will compromise on based on his original promises to people as he campaigned. The other thing that must happen is those people, like me, who have experienced losing a job and have had to scrounge around for health care must start speaking up. I am always amazed at the people arguing against the public option who know someone who collects disability, gets medicare, medicaid, social security, etc. These programs are supported by public funds. Without these programs, the grandparents, parents, disabled friend or child of those someone voicing their argumentative dissent about a pubic option in health care reform would not get the care and help they need. Part of the problem is that there is NO health care bill…just volumes of ideas being thrown around. Those Republican Congresspeople who are arguing against public options are more than happy to be buried in Arlington Cemetery and collect a large pension. This is not a political issue. It is a human issue.

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