California's weak economy has voters cutting back on current expenses and largely unable to meet essential future ones, such as the cost of long-term care, according to a new poll from The SCAN Foundation and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The poll, in its second year, sought to better understand health and long-term care issues facing middle-aged voters, given the state's current economic crisis and the rising number of Californians older than 60, a figure that is projected to nearly double to 12 million people in the next 25 years. The poll found that Californians, regardless of political party or income level, were worried about the costs of growing older. Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents said that they are apprehensive about being able to afford long-term care.
By 2012, an estimated 14 million people will serve as distance caregivers to family members who live across the state, across the region, even across the country. "No longer are families living just around the corner from each other, " says Polly Mazanec, an assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and an advance practice oncology nurse at University Hospitals Case Medical Center's Seidman Cancer Center. The distance presents a challenge as family members work to gain information about their loved ones and participate in their cancer care. But it's also challenging to the local caregivers nurses, doctors and local family members who must adapt short-term to these remote caregivers' special needs. In hospitals across the country, such challenges have prompted distance caregivers to be labeled "seagulls" and "pigeons" references to family members who fly in, make a mess and fly out.
New Robot Boasts The Latest In Sensor Technology, Promises A Brighter Future For Japan's Elderly Population
A new robot using high-precision tactile sensors and flexible motor control technology has taken Japan one step closer to its goal of providing high-quality care for its growing elderly population. Developed by researchers at RIKEN and Tokai Rubber Industries (TRI), the new robot can lift a patient up to 80kg in weight off floor-level bedding and into a wheelchair, freeing care facility personnel of one of their most difficult and energy-consuming tasks. With an elderly population in need of nursing care projected to reach a staggering 5.69 million by 2015, Japan faces an urgent need for new approaches to assist care-giving personnel. One of the most strenuous tasks for such personnel, carried out an average of 40 times every day, is that of lifting a patient from a futon at floor level into a wheelchair.
Hospice services substantially improved the provision of care and support for nursing home patients dying of dementia and their families, according to an analysis of survey responses from hundreds of bereaved family members. The research comes as hospice funding has received particular scrutiny in the debate over Medicare spending. "People whose loved ones received hospice care reported an improved quality of care, and had a perception that the quality of dying was improved as well, " said Dr. Joan Teno, a Brown University gerontologist and the lead author of the study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. "This is one of just a few studies out there that has examined dying with dementia where the predominant site of care is a nursing home and can report the benefits of hospice services.
Subsidizing the wages of caregivers at group homes would likely reduce worker turnover rates and help contain costs at long-term care facilities, according to new University of Illinois research. Elizabeth T. Powers, a professor of economics and faculty member of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at Illinois, says that a government-sponsored wage-subsidy program could reduce the churn of low-wage caregivers through group homes by one-third. "High rates of worker turnover have costs, and there aren't a lot incentives for the agencies that operate group homes to reduce worker turnover, given the environment they operate in and the potential mobility of workers, " she said. "Although there's not much gain to providers from reducing turnover, the high turnover rate may have costs to clients, in that it negatively affects the quality of their experience.