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Why Better Eldercare Planning is Essential - Aging Wisely

ASA conference 2014 Aging in America

Attorney Linda Chamberlain and Dr. Kerry Chamberlain, founders of Aging Wisely, will be presenting this week at the American Society on Aging’s 2014 Aging in America conference. Bringing together their broad experience in eldercare over the past fifteen years running Aging Wisely and EasyLiving along with their specialties of Elder Law and Hematology/Oncology,  Linda and Kerry will discuss “A Better Approach to Eldercare Planning”. Why is this topic so vital?

  • There are over 65 million caregivers in the U.S., providing greater than $450 billion worth of (unpaid) services.
  • Total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of caregivers of parents is over $3 trillion dollars (per average caregiver the losses add up to just over $300,000).
  • Over 1.4 million Americans live in nursing homes (only 5% of individuals under age 85 reside in nursing homes, but 11% of those over age 85 do) and more than 735,000 U.S. residents live in Assisted Living Facilities (54% of ALF residents are 85 and older)
  • The median daily rate for a semi-private room in a Skilled Nursing Facility in 2013 was $207 (up about 3% from prior year, from the Genworth Cost of Care Study). The national median rate for an Assisted Living Facility (monthly rate for 1 bedroom apartment) was $3450.

A few additional statistics about family caregiving:

  • Caregivers spend on average 20+ hours per week providing care.
  • If the caregiver lives in the home with person, care increased to 40+ hours per week.
  • The average duration of caregiver role is 4.6 years.
  • About 15% of caregivers live an hour or more away from the care recipient.
  • In the MetLife/National Alliance for Caregivers Study of Long-Distance Caregivers, despite an average distance of 450 miles and 7.23 hours of travel time one-way, long-distance caregivers reported substantial regular personal contact with the person they were helping; 51% reported visiting at least a few times a month.
  • About 1/4 of these long-distance caregivers were the only or primary caregivers and many had to rearrange work schedules (and spent an average of over $300/month on caregiving travel and other out-of-pocket expenses).

All of these statistics point to the necessity for good eldercare planning. Needing some type of assistance (and the related caregiving duties for the younger generation) has become relatively common to the aging experience, with longer life expectancies and increased chronic conditions. The way we plan and prepare can have a big impact on our choices and help both the elder and family members. As aging professionals, we can be allies in helping families through a better approach to planning. Too often, aging issues have been approached in a fragmented way, mostly from the perspective of the specific program or entity leading the conversation. We will share more in next week’s blog post from Linda and Kerry’s presentation, which is aimed to help participants:

  • Understand how a holistic approach to the client/family system results in more successful solutions.
  • Know the key components of a successful care consultation and how to approach an initial conversation.
  • Learn how to avoid breakdowns in communication, misunderstood goals, and missed opportunities by using a coordinated planning approach.

If you are attending the Aging in America conference, we hope to meet you there! Linda and Kerry’s session will be held Thursday, March 13th from 4:30-5:30. We hope you will consider taking part! You can also follow some live updates on our Aging Wisely Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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