By Kimberly Townsend
The state of the unpaid caregiver is in crisis — physical, emotional and mental. Consider these statistics from The Bipartisan Policy Center and a recent poll:
• About half of 65-year-olds will need long-term care services and supports in their lifetime.
• One in five adults in the U.S. provides support in daily activities to a close friend or family member.
• Another one in five admit that the care they or their family member is receiving isn’t enough, but 75% of them say they can’t afford more.
• Seventy-seven percent of unpaid caregivers are experiencing stress, worsening mental and physical health, and financial strain.
These numbers make one thing clear: We need a safety net for seniors that helps provide the care they need and relief to the family members trying to make ends meet. But how do we get that in place? While a lot of the strain is beyond the control of family and institutional caregivers alike, there are some things we can do to make an impact.
For those caring for family members at home, access to support services is vital. Loretto is truly a safety net provider — caring for the most vulnerable individuals in our region. For example, PACE CNY (an all-inclusive care for the elderly program) offers an interdisciplinary approach to care using a team to provide the best possible care for their patients. The team will evaluate an elder loved one and create a plan of care specific to them.
An institutional caregiver, 70% of the people Loretto serves each year are Medicaid-eligible. To ensure its ability to deliver quality patient care, Loretto is focused on sustaining a highly knowledgeable and well-trained workforce by offering competitive pay, benefits and education programs.
Planning for aging and retirement is not a simple task. Loretto recommends initial discussions include your family or friends about what things matter most to you, how you will accomplish your goals and the help you may need from others. Together, we can make a difference.