Modeled after AmeriCorps, the program would recruit high school or college graduates to spend a year providing nonmedical care to seniors with cognitive impairment.
When the older adult news agency Next Avenue released its 2016 list of top 50 Influencers in Aging last month, it was rife with Californians, yet none so deeply involved in a dizzying array of initiatives than David Lindeman, director of the Oakland-based Center for Technology and Aging.
The exploding number of older adults in the United States – over 8,000 people turn 65 each day according to the U.S. Census Bureau – means Baby Boomers are staring into a terrifying abyss as a faltering economy wreaks havoc with retirement funds and the ability to pay for long-term care.
The grim effects of smoking, drinking, and poor eating are commonly cited by doctors as appalling and expensive health scourges. Yet for aging Californians, an often hidden health plague can be just as deadly: loneliness. Social isolation and its common offspring – loneliness – became a political hot potato when California recently cut back on its adult day health care program, disqualifying 20% of the state’s older and disabled citizens from its attendance rolls. Families who depended on the centers for medical supervision and social interaction suddenly had to scramble to find new programs to care for these relatives.
As the U.S. population ages in the coming decades, the need for some sort of insurance to cover long-term health care expenses – such as in-home support services – will also rise. With this in mind, Congress and the Obama Administration last year included in the controversial health care reform act a little-discussed provision to implement a government-run long-term health care insurance program known as CLASS in October 2012.
With reports of elder abuse rising, Napa County is taking the lead in protecting seniors from unscrupulous or predatory caregivers by becoming the first in California to require criminal background checks for home-care aides.
As the state plans to shut down a program that provides community-based health services to 35,000 seniors and people with disabilities, critics say the move will force many of those people into nursing homes, which will give them a less rewarding life while costing the state and the taxpayers more. The cut will also be a major blow to the centers themselves, and their workforce.