Family Caregiving: The Facts

Providing care to a family member or friend can take a great toll on an individual. In a July post we examined the effects it has in the workplace. The information provided on this website takes a closer look at providing care to family members and friends from the effects on caregiver health to the economic impact. The following is just one of the facts provided on the website:

“For some adults with heavy caregiving responsibilities, the impact on their ability to work is significant. According to a major study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, some working caregivers reported having to take a leave of absence (17 percent), shift from full-time to part-time work (10 percent), quit work entirely (6 percent), lose job benefits (5 percent), turn down a promotion (4 percent), or choose early retirement (3 percent). (Source: National Alliance for Caregiving with AARP and MetLife, 2004).”

Many of the adverse effects caregiver’s face can be reduced or eliminated with the introduction of assistive technology. Visit the SimplyHome website to find out more about what technologies are currently helping people balance the caregiver role and their other responsibilities.

SimplyHome

Home Can Be A Safer Place to Get Well

This article in an Irish newspaper alludes to another compelling reason for the elderly to age-in-place, in their homes– hospitals are often not the place to get well, and indeed a patient may come in with one illness only to be exposed to others:

The lives of elderly nursing home patients are being put at risk by the actions of acute hospitals, according to the Irish Nursing Homes Organisation.

This follows revelations that an 84-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with Clostridium Difficile, was sent to a nursing home by hospital staff, despite being gravely ill and a serious risk to other patients.

SimplyHome

Declining Health Drives Aging Retirees Back Home in So-Called “Boomerang Syndrome”

An article in USA Today describes a “boomerang” syndrome in which aging retirees find themselves moving back home. Not only do they seek closer contact with children and grandchildren, but they often need help in dealing with problems of failing health.
“Homer and Edna Walls raised nine children in Waukesha, Wis. He owned a trucking business. She was a homemaker. Soon after their youngest graduated from high school, they became typical snowbirds, flying to Arizona in winter and returning home in summer.

In the early 1990s, they sold their Wisconsin home and made what they imagined would be a permanent move to an active adult community in Green Valley, in the high desert south of Tucson. They were among the youngest when they arrived. Twelve years later, some friends had died or moved. ‘Pretty soon, they were the old ones,’ daughter Chris Kronsnoble says. ‘There were some health issues.’” To read more, go here.

Best Practices for Addressing America’s Maturing Population

A  study on the maturing of America released by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging identified a number of “Best Practices” for communities to consider in addressing the needs of an aging population.

Among the study’s recommendations:

  • Preventive health care, such as health and “lifestyle” education, immunizations and screenings, to reduce injuries and the onset of chronic diseases, as well as a range of in-home health assistance to help people stay in their homes longer.
  • Nutrition education to promote healthy eating throughout a person’s lifespan, as well as nutritious community-sponsored programs such as home-delivered meals for those who have difficulty or are unable to prepare their own meals.
  • Transportation options for people who cannot or do not want to drive.
  • Home modification programs that make necessary adjustments for people with special needs. Zoning and subdivision plans that promote a variety of affordable, accessible housing located near medical, commercial and other desired services, as well as shared housing options for older adults and their caregivers.
  • Single point of entry for information and access to ALL aging information and services in the community, and the strategic expansion of necessary services to support the older adults to age with dignity and independence in their home and community.

Study Finds Higher Costs for Caregivers of Elderly

According to a new study published in the New York Times, the out-of-pocket cost of caring for an aging parent or spouse averages about $5,500 a year, according to the nation’s first in-depth study of such expenses, a sum that is more than double previous estimates and more than the average American household spends annually on health care and entertainment combined.

Family members responsible for ailing loved ones provide not only “hands on” care but often reach into their own pockets to pay for many other expenses of care recipients, including groceries, household goods, drugs, medical co-payments and transportation. That nudges the average cost of providing long-distance care to $8,728 a year.

These caregivers, spending on average 10 percent of their household income, manage the financial burden by taking out loans, skipping vacations, dipping into savings or ignoring their own health care.

These findings and others, to be released today, came from a telephone survey of 1,000 adults caring for someone over age 50 who needs help with activities like bathing, using the toilet, preparing meals, shopping or managing finances. It is the first detailed look at out-of-pocket spending among the estimated 34 million Americans providing care for older family members or friends and builds on a 2004 study.

The survey was conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving, a research and policy organization, and Evercare, a division of the UnitedHealth Group, which coordinates long-term care for 150,000 clients. The report urges government assistance for family caregivers, whether through tax deductions, tax credits or other stipends.

Click here to read the full article from the NYT.

Save

Wired Homes Keep Tabs on Aging Parents

Listen to the Story from NPR, “Wired Homes Keep Tabs on Aging Parents.”

Here’s a sneak preview of this story:

What’s In A Wired Home?

In addition to camera monitoring, companies offer other kinds of services to help keep track of an elderly person’s daily activities.

Some use motion sensors to monitor someone’s movement around the house, and daily tasks like preparing coffee. If a sensor detects that, say, Grandpa has been in the bathroom too long, a relative can be notified by cell phone or text. Companies that specialize in this kind of monitoring — such as SimplyHome, QuietCare and BeClose — provide detailed activity information for loved ones to see on a private website.

Listen to the Full Story from NPR, “Wired Homes Keep Tabs on Aging Parents.”

SimplyHome In the News!!

“The basic premise is an event happened and someone needs to know about it or an event didn’t happen and someone needs to know,” said Jason Ray, vice president of Simply Home, which also offers telemonitoring services.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/surveillance-tech-wirelessly-watches-older-parents/story?id=11473180

In addition to camera monitoring, companies offer other kinds of services to help keep track of an elderly person’s daily activities.

Some use motion sensors to monitor someone’s movement around the house, and daily tasks like preparing coffee. If a sensor detects that, say, Grandpa has been in the bathroom too long, a relative can be notified by cell phone or text. Companies that specialize in this kind of monitoring — such as SimplyHome, QuietCare and BeClose — provide detailed activity information for loved ones to see on a private website.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129104664

Caregivers Spend More Than They Thought on Aging Family Members

A new, in-depth study of the costs of caregiving reveals that Americans spend far more to care for aging parents and spouses than was previously thought, according to an article in the New York Times. The telephone survey of 1,000 individuals, conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving, was the first to take a detailed look at the many Americans who sacrifice savings, entertainment and even their own healthcare to care for aging family members.

“The out-of-pocket cost of caring for an aging parent or spouse averages about $5,500 a year, according to the nation’s first in-depth study of such expenses, a sum that is more than double previous estimates and more than the average American household spends annually on health care and entertainment combined.

Family members responsible for ailing loved ones provide not only “hands on” care but often reach into their own pockets to pay for many other expenses of care recipients, including groceries, household goods, drugs, medical co-payments and transportation. That nudges the average cost of providing long-distance care to $8,728 a year.” To read more, please go here.

SimplyHome

Caregiver Concerns Are Solved with SimplyHome’s Assistive Technology

There are an estimated 34 million Americans assisting in the care of an older family member or friend, and an additional 10.6 million helping someone between the ages of 18 and 49, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving. Many of these elderly and/or disabled individuals long to live independently in their own homes, but they are held back by problems of Connectivity, Capacity and Capital. <!–[endif]–>

CMI’s SimplyHome system of assistive technology addresses all of these issues. It CONNECTS caregivers to loved ones via web, email, text messaging and two-way voice. Because the technology makes possible connectivity to several caregivers at once, the CAPACITY problem is also resolved.

For an elderly parent, for example, you can share the responsibility of responding to SimplyHome “alerts” with one or more family members, professional caregiver(s), and/or SimplyHome’s 24/7 Central Station. Before responding in person to an indication of trouble, you can use an optional video cam to do a Live Look-In, or see a short video clip of when your care recipient was last active.

Professional caregivers find they can support twice as many residents with the SimplyHome system as without it.

Finally, CMI makes this equipment highly affordable (the CAPITAL issue) as a low-cost monthly rental. You can add or subtract components of the system at any time. If an elderly parent begins to wander due to dementia, you can easily add a small people-tracking device.

Everything CMI offers is easy to install (no holes to drill), and 24/7 technical support is provided. CMI also sells power tools for busy caregivers. For more information, call 828/684-8441, email info@simplyhome-cmi.com or go to www.simplyhome-cmi.com.

SimplyHome