As we have discussed before, the number of Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes has brought to light the ongoing crisis in how we care for our ailing seniors. In short, the problem is that we've always been trying to do so on the cheap through the Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts) program. As a result, caregivers in nursing homes are underpaid and most facilities are understaffed.
A recent report, which is summarized in The New York Times, describes how the low pay and stress leads to turnover of nursing home staff. That turnover affects care both because it means that most caregivers are inexperienced and they and the nursing home residents don't know one another. This can be especially confusing for those residents who suffer from dementia.Read More
By Harry S. Margolis
One thing we've learned from the coronavirus pandemic is who's an essential worker and who isn't. It's disturbing that, except for physicians, there's something of an inverse relationship between work that's essential and compensation for doing that work. Investment bankers are not essential. Home care workers are.
There are at least four reasons we need to pay caregivers more, whether they provide care at home or in nursing homes or other senior care facilities: fairness, risk, supply, and quality of care.Read More
The following email I received from a client demonstrates why those of us who hire caregivers, whether for our children, our spouses, or our parents, need to do so above the table, paying our share of FICA:
Dear Atty. Margolis,
Managing raising children while holding down a full-time job is a challenge for all parents. Add in caring for aging parents and it can feel more like a vise than the proverbial sandwich. Dedham-based marketing executive Liz O'Donnell has written a book, Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Making a Living, and started a website, www.workingdaughter.com, both aimed at helping daughters of elderly parents better manage the pressures coming at them from all directions. Both are based on O'Donnell's own experience trying to care for her parents, raise her children, and meet the requirements of a demanding job. They are full of good advice for other daughters (and sons) facing the same challenges.Read More
Organized by the indefatigable Tim Driver, founder of RetirementJobs.com, the Age Friendly Foundation, and AgeFriendly.com, hundreds of aging professionals, academics, medical providers, journalists and government leaders met at the Seaport Hotel on October 23rd to discuss the future of aging in Massachusetts. Driver's incredible slate of presenters included Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, industry leaders, Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, and Alexander Kalache, MD, Co-President of the International Longevity Centres Global Alliance.
There were a few common themes about the challenges of our increasingly older population voiced by speakers from many different perspectives:
Here are some of the highlights:Read More
In recent years, home care for disabled seniors has grown tremendously with absolutely no regulation. For the most part, this has been good, with millions of seniors being able to stay in their own homes as they age. But a recent series of articles in The Boston Globe highlights the risks inherent to the system both to those receiving care and those providing it.
There has been a proliferation of individuals and companies, small and large, either providing in-home care or connecting families with caregivers. Two of the biggest are Home Instead Senior Care, which franchises home care agencies, and Care.com, which has expanded its child care referral services to include senior care as well.Read More
A new website offers information and resources for individuals and families facing end-of-life challenges. It is designed as both a destination itself with answers to questions about end-of-life topics and as a directory of services in the community. The website, www.endwithcare.org, grew out of the work of the Massachusetts Commission on End of Life Care and the Massachusetts Experts Panel on End of Life Care, which in 2014 came out with the report, Looking Forward: 2014 and Beyond.Read More