Watch an intimate conversation about this workforce, which provides vital care to vulnerable people. Our panel included those doing the work and those who rely on them, as well as expert insight on improving the jobs, honoring the care and paying for it all.
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.”
Home health aides flattened the curve by keeping the most vulnerable patients — seniors, the disabled, the infirm — out of hospitals. But they’ve done it mostly at poverty wages and without overtime pay, hazard pay, sick leave or health insurance.
These workers rely on public assistance — and, sometimes, a side gig to get by.
Hundreds of thousands of health care workers go into homes to provide important services for seniors and disabled people. But with the rising concerns about the danger of the coronavirus pandemic, especially for older people, these health workers could be endangering their patients and themselves.
If you’re told Medicare’s home health benefits have changed, don’t believe it: Coverage rules haven’t been altered and people are still entitled to the same types of services. All that has changed is how Medicare pays agencies.
Medicare has changed how it pays for services. In response, agencies across the country are firing therapists, limiting physical, occupational and speech therapy, and terminating services for some longtime, severely ill patients.
Fewer Americans are dying in a hospital, under the close supervision of doctors and nurses. That trend has been boosted by an expanded Medicare benefit that helps people live out their final days at home in hospice care. But as home hospice grows, so has the burden on families left to provide much of the care.
Harvard psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman shed his “veil of ignorance” during 11 years serving as the primary family caregiver for his wife, who had a rare form of early Alzheimer’s disease. In a new book, “The Soul of Care,” he offers suggestions for transforming health care ― just as caregiving transformed him.
More baby boomers look forward to aging in place — in their homes, rather than in a care facility. But the costs of retrofitting a house is likely prohibitive for many Americans.