Thursday, November 27, 2014

Postcards From The Edge: Create The Golden Years Now

I think I know why I spent so much time in the library when I was growing up -- to prepare me for my focus in life which has been finding information most people have no idea exists or where it can be found.

At least that's what I tell myself when I go exploring and want to find more substantial information about subjects like Senior Care -- so important because we're all headed there.

Just like those Tropical Destinations or Great Vacations we've all dreamed about and many have taken, we want to enjoy the trip and the destination.

Without the "postcards" and the "brochures" meaning the pieces of information and the connection to specific insights, our "Golden Years" may weigh on us like a lead anchor we can’t shake off and gets heavier and more burdensome as time passes.

As I’ve mentioned before, I like the factual information I can find on AARP but getting to that point sometimes means wading through volumes of ads, pop up videos and other distractions.

An AARP publication in 2012 stated the following. More recent statistics will be even higher with our aging population:

"Assisted living and residential care residents are overwhelmingly female (70 percent). More than half (54 percent) are age 85 or older, and just 10 percent are younger than 65. Approximately one-third of residents (33 percent) have been living in the facility for less than a year; 36 percent for one to three years, and 31 percent for more than three years."

"About 74 percent of residents receive assistance with ADLs. (inserted note: Activities of Daily Living)  Thirty-seven percent have three or more ADL limitations, and 42 percent have Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Approximately one in five residents (19 percent) receive Medicaid assistance, and 43 percent of facilities have at least one resident who receives Medicaid." 


More than half are age 85 or older. We’re gaining years of life; do we really want to spend those years in facilities that shelve us rather than provide quality of life?

About 3/4 of the amount of residents NEED assistance with Activities of Daily Living. This means a range of possibilities requiring at least one person or possibly two for some type of assistance.  MY CONCERNS:  We’re not accurately assessing how much assistance and what type to adequately and safely provide this assistance. I’ll discuss more about the types of assistance in another blog entry and how critical it is for some functions to be done by more than one person at a time – Gait Belts can endanger people.

…and 42 percent have Alzheimer’s or other dementia. It’s not stated if the Dementia is diagnosed or observed or both; general info available elsewhere would up this figure considerably esp since the above statistic of more than half of the residents are aged 85 or older and one form of Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, is more difficult to recognize and is just beginning to be counted as a MAJOR contributor to the Dementia population.

Approximately one in five residents (19 percent) receive Medicaid assistance.  With costs skyrocketing in all areas of living, we’ll soon see this figure, in my opinion, double or triple. Hard economic times, inability to set aside funds needed for daily living, larger families requiring more maintenance (the baby boomer family size of 2, 3 or maybe 4 is today 3, 4, 5 or maybe more). Higher cost of living; higher expectations of living; constant changing needs to update, upgrade and built in obsolescence causing need and not just want in replacement – thrown out/not repairable and obsolete/not outdated.

43% of facilities have at least one resident who receives Medicaid.  Many facilities are trying to move away from accepting Medicaid. Long Term Care Insurance, when medical costs are a part of the distribution, are as challenging for the policy holder as they are for the facility and we all know how difficult Private Insurance offerings are as they change from year to year and seem to eliminate more and more. So, Government provided Insurance or Private Company provided, there will still be many challenges in these arenas.

  • Technology is advancing. There are far better and easier, less time consuming ways to record and ensure accuracy than ever before.  
  • Systems and procedures are being developed and need to be put in place through mandatory conformance.  
  • Standards of care provision for our growing Senior population need to be ensured through mandated reports that are transparent and readily available.
  • HIPPA can be adhered to, information can be made available it’s not either or, it’s both in tandem.
  • REMEMBER:  If you’re one of the “lucky” ones to live well into those Golden Years…..You, too, can be one of the statistics listed above or on many websites.
              OR, You can work now to change the statistics


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