National Long-Term Care Awareness Month:
Developing Outreach Programs
As the oldest baby boomers begin to enter their 70s, their potential need for long-term care services draws nearer. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of people turning 65 can expect to use long-term care services in some form or another during their lives.1 In some cases, they could even need those services for up to three decades. But longevity is not the only precursor to long-term care needs. On average, 8% of people ages 40 to 50 have a disability that could require long-term care services,2 and about 37% of those who need long-term care are under the age of 65.3
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In April, when President Obama reauthorized the Older Americans Act (OAA), a key provision was improving cooperation and coordination with area agencies on aging and other community-based entities to provide information and referrals regarding available home- and community-based services.4 Because November is National Long-Term Care Awareness Month, it is a great time to focus on developing some outreach programs to help make consumers aware of the services available to them.
Here are a few strategies that some local agencies and AAAs are currently using:
Hosting workshops. There a variety of workshops you might consider, both on the health and financial spectrums of long-term care. Topics can run the gamut from dealing with chronic pain to finding suitable home health options to financial considerations. For the latter topic, consider partnering with a financial professional to offer a seminar and/or informational materials that will help consumers understand their financial options. With at-home care services averaging $20 per hour and assisted living facilities averaging $3,628 per month, it is important for consumers to plan for those costs in the event they need such services.5
Hosting a long-term care fair. Partner with home health agencies, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, insurance agents, social workers, and other agencies and professionals whose focus is on long-term care services.
Organizing caregiver support events. Caring for a family member or friend can be overwhelming. People in this type of role often have questions or concerns that only someone else in their situation would understand. By forming a group devoted to supporting the needs of caregivers, your organization can provide a safe, confidential platform that will nurture the ones who give so much of themselves to help their loved ones. Be sure to choose a facilitator who is experienced in this field and can point caregivers to additional information and resources.
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1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Who Needs Care?” http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/who-needs-care/.
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Who Needs Care?” http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/who-needs-care/.
3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The Basics.” http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/
4 Bill Summary: Education & The Workforce Committee. http://edworkforce.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bill_summary_-_older_americans_act_reauthorization_act.pdf
5 Genworth Financial. April 2016. “Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey.” https://www.genworth.com/dam/Americas/US/PDFs/Consumer/corporate/131168_050516.pdf.