"Home Care and Our Aging Population" from To The Point
Friday the 13th was our lucky day -- on Friday July 13, 2012, anyway.
Public Radio International, producer of such popular shows as Marketplace, called to request that I appear on To the Point, "a fast-paced, news based one-hour daily national program that focuses on the hot-button issues of the day, co-produced by KCRW and Public Radio International." The show was devoted to "Home Care and Our Aging Population."
This was our third opportunity for national exposure within a month, including an opinion piece on CNN.com and a series of national webinars requested by the National Private Duty Association. The show examined both the costs of home care and people's attitudes toward old age. The most interesting question, I thought, was
when the host asked the panel how we should think about home care. My resopnse echoed a message we frequently give our families: "Old age is a phase of life but it is not a disease to be cured, like mumps. If you can accept it for what it is, and not try to restore the older person to the health of a 40-year-old, there can be a lot of joy and sadness, laghter and tears - precious times and memories created."
We also talked about home care workers, the costs of home care, and standards across the industry. These are some nuts and bolts issues that everyone needs to understand before beginning home care, but I see that people are hoping for some way to reduce the cost of home care, but also to improve the wages of home care workers. That is a difficult trick! I think a better approach is for people in their middle years to begin to plan for a retirement that may well include home care. Long term care insurance would be a great idea for most people. Because we do want well-paid caregivers in this industry - the work is important and the workers deserve a living wage. But that will require families to plan to pay those expenses and that does raise the cost. Planning for it is the only solution I can see to that particular problem.