An Obama proposal would make home care more costly by allowing for overtime pay to caregivers. This will effect hours of care, number of caregivers, Long Term Care insurance coverage and possibly evenallowing people to remain at home.  Take Action and communicate to your representatives.

The Miami Herald > Opinion > Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor * Friday, 01.06.12

Home-Care Services May Become More Costly

Millions of seniors enjoyed the holidays, thanks in large part to the affordability of trusted licensed home healthcare givers who provide daily critical assistance, be it medication reminders, dressing or cooking.

But as early as March, barring a reversal of an executive order from President Obama, the quality of life enjoyed now by many seniors could be adversely affected both in their independence and checkbook.

Under the president’s Dec. 15 directive to the Department of Labor, home health aides, exempt from federal wage laws since 1974, will have to be paid an hourly wage and overtime for service over 40 hours a week.

Don’t expect insurance policies to extend for this added cost. If the consumer pays out of pocket for all home care now, the cost could be staggering. Imagine paying a licensed, trained and background-checked home health worker, now costing $17 an hour, $25.50 an hour for 30 hours of overtime. Weekly, that added expense would be $247.50 and yearly it could be almost $13,000.

The options are not pretty:

• Individuals may give up their independent lifestyle and shift to institutions that until now were more costly.

• Children paying for or monitoring a parent’s expenses might start hiring independent caregivers, skipping over companies that provide credentialed caregivers.

• To get around overtime, individuals may choose to create a revolving door of caregivers. This won’t make the client particularly happy either. “Don’t send me anybody else,” is a familiar directive to home healthcare providers such as myself.

A relationship between the caregiver and senior can determine if the senior is comfortable enough to go on an errand or an activity with an aide or choose to stay home, shrinking their world and opportunities for happiness.

Individuals who provide this important work for our growing senior population should be fairly compensated, but at what cost to the consumer? There must be balance.

The Department of Labor has opened a 60-day public comment period ending Feb. 27 before acting on the president’s initiative. Concerned South Floridians should call President Obama and their congressional representatives to express opposition to the anticipated negative impact.

Joseph Bensmihen, owner and CEO, Boca Home Care Services, Boca Raton

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/08/2577322/home-care-services-may-become.html?story_link=email_msg#storylink=cpy

dementia and alzheimers diseaseAlzheimer’s Facts:

FACT: There are about 5.4 million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States.

FACT: Every 70 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (more than 1,200 new diagnoses each day).

FACT: Approximately 80% of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are cared for in their homes.

FACT: There are nearly 15 million unpaid family members, friends, neighbors, and associates who have assumed the responsibility of caring for these individuals.

Unpaid caregivers and stress

There are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers providing 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $202 billion.

Facts and Figures finds that caregivers not only suffer emotionally but also physically. Because of the toll of caregiving on their own health, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $7.9 billion in additional health care costs in 2010.

More than 60 percent of family caregivers report high levels of stress because of the prolonged duration of caregiving and 33 percent report symptoms of depression.

Read more: http://www.alz.org/downloads/Facts_Figures_2011.pdf

Did that catch your attention? This is epidemic proportions with the numbers climbing ever higher.  We need help to save the caregivers to save the loved ones with the disease. Caregiving affects the entire family.  The primary caregiver who is likely the spouse is probably in their 70s or 80s themselves, not the time to take on a full time, physically and emotionally draining job. Family members (adult children) must find ways to give respite time and support to their parents-particularly to the primary caregiver parent. This involves coming into the home more often and most likely, hiring some outside help. The primary caregiver needs time to recharge, to take care of their own doctor appointments and procedures or to just collapse for a weekend.

Boca Home Care Services introduces home health aides into the home to care for the infirm parent and give the much needed respite time to the primary caregiver parent.  A little help goes a very long way.  The HHAs are certified, compassionate and experienced working with dementia clients. They know the behaviors and the specific needs of persons with Alzheimer’s or other dementia.  Whether a regular schedule of a few hours, a few times a week or every few weekends, the added help allows the primary caregiver to take time off for themselves or to attend out of state family functions.  To the family (adult children), if the healthy parent burns out or worse, then the family really has to manage a more difficult situation.