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Caregivers in Bellevue WA: Families need to plan ahead for the inevitable

Caregivers in Bellevue WA: Families need to plan ahead for the inevitable
Stephen Goldstein Columnist

July 10, 2011

It's the biggest public policy issue that's almost never publicly mentioned. And it's going to hit most families like the proverbial ton of bricks, if it hasn't already.

There is a caregiving crisis in the U.S. — too few family members willing to care for their parents in their home, too many aging parents in need — and it's only going to get worse. As the nation's population continues to age, more and more seniors will need help with daily living. Typically, they aren't acutely ill, but are frail and failing, limited in what they can do and how they get around. Almost all of us will be affected because we will need to care for someone or have others care for us.

Unfortunately, the nation is in denial. Family caregiving was barely mentioned during the months of debate over health system reform. The Affordable Care Act includes a voluntary, long-term care policy with minimal benefits and a token daily payout. We can't build enough facilities to accommodate the additional millions of Americans who soon will need care — nor should we want to. Insurance companies will not be able to write enough affordable policies paying enough in benefits to defray all the costs of in-home care. And no government program will be able to meet the demand for services.

Obviously, we need to become a nation of family caregivers. Whatever you call them — assisted-living facilities being perhaps the most palatable — even the most exclusive and expensive homes for seniors are human warehouses. People should be institutionalized only as the absolute last resort — when they need round-the-clock, skilled care and caring for them at home would be inadequate.

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For information about how Andelcare can help your family with caregiving in Bellevue WA, call 888-788-3051. We are a home care agency providing everything from respite care for the primary caregiver to full time in home care for your loved one.