Preparing for the Long Haul

We have entered into a new era of healthcare — with the possible Medicare and Medicaid cutbacks, the looming increases in our insurance premiums and deductibles, there is no denying that our healthcare system is more than just problematic, no matter what side of the political spectrum you are on.

The new tax cut program is expected to reduce 800 billion dollars in Medicaid spending, affecting health insurance coverage, hospital expenses, nursing and home healthcare services.[1] 1 in 5 Americans are covered under the Medicaid program, including many people who suffer from chronic disabilities and other long-term health related issues.[2]

Unfortunately, as citizens, we have just so much control over what our elected officials will do when it comes to this healthcare debacle. However, we can be proactive in the event our outside care becomes too cost prohibitive and we are unable to rely 100% on the healthcare system; remaining in the home may be the only option. According to a report published by the Center for Retirement at Boston College, about 17 percent of adult children will take care of their parents at some point in their lives. Once they become caregivers, adult children are likely to commit a substantial amount of time — about 77 hours on average each month to look after their relatives. For people who provide round-the-clock care, the commitment is even greater.[3]

Many caregivers spend their own money order to help with the additional expenses., a consumer website for caregivers and families, suggests that more than 40 percent of caregivers spend at least $5,000 a year to help pay for transportation, clothing and medical costs.[4] And with the potential cut backs in programs, it is even more likely that caregiving will not only fall more on family members, but will require more advanced planning for these major changes.

As any caregiver, one would want to know what resources are available when needs arise. The type of resources and assistive aids needed when caring for a loved with Alzheimer's Disease is vastly different for those that are suffering from acute arthritis - physical comfort is needed more than protective aids for a dementia patient. So, no matter the care needed — post stroke, Parkinson's Disease, chronic disabilities, or dementia, a well thought out preemptive plan will reduce not only the emotional stress on the caregiver, but on the wallet, as well.


[2] KKF. org

[3] The Washington Post


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