The number of Americans 65 and older is expected to nearly double in the next 40 years. Finding a way to provide and pay for the long-term health services they need won’t be easy.
When the covid pandemic hit, Dr. Rebecca Elon was thrust into a new role, primary caregiver for her severely ill husband and her elderly mother. “Reading about caregiving of this kind was one thing. Experiencing it was entirely different,” she says.
Long-term care options are expensive and often out of reach for seniors and people with disabilities. The president has proposed a massive infusion of federal funding for home and community-based health services that advocates say will go a long way toward helping individuals and families.
President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal includes items not traditionally considered “infrastructure,” including a $400 billion expansion of home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities, and a $50 billion effort to replace water pipes lined with lead. Meanwhile, the politics of covid-19 are turning to how or whether Americans will need to prove they’ve been vaccinated. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Tami Luhby of CNN and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Plus, Rovner interviews KFF’s Mollyann Brodie about the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor.
Millions of teens and preteens help care for ill parents or grandparents. The pandemic has boosted their numbers while making it harder for them to get social and emotional support outside the home.
State officials recently unveiled a “master plan” to address the needs of California’s rapidly aging population, from housing to long-term care. Kim McCoy Wade, director of the state Department of Aging, vows it will not end up on a shelf gathering dust.
Tens of thousands of middle-aged sons and daughters — too young to qualify for a vaccine — care for older relatives with serious ailments and want to get the shots to protect their loved ones and themselves.
As nurses, we are on the frontlines in the war against COVID-19. Deemed healthcare heroes and recipients of nightly applause, the recognition is gratifying but cannot compensate for the risk inherent in our ethical obligation to care for patients, especially when recycled personal protection equipment is all we have. As of July 13, there were 98,150 COVID-19 cases and 521 deaths among healthcare workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nurses deserve compensation commensurate with the hazards they endure.
Caregiving is in crisis for low-income caregivers. Family and friends who provide help with daily tasks for anyone with complex health needs or decreased mobility face high demands and are in short supply. This work is largely unpaid and unseen, and families are left to fend for themselves with few options to ease their caregiving duties.
The main problem the eldercare industry faces today is one of supply and demand. Simply put, there are not enough caregivers to meet today’s demand. This problem will only get worse as baby boomers begin to enter their later senior years, in what is colloquially being called “The Gray Tsunami.”