NPR’s Kelly McEvers talks with special needs lawyer Theresa Varnet and social entrepreneur Al Etmanski about the types of assistance available for families caring for a special needs child.
Moving a parent into a care facility is often a wrenching decision for families. Despite the emotions involved, it’s important to remain clear-eyed when it comes to signing the contract. Otherwise, adult children could find themselves on the hook for much more than they bargained for.
While Congress expanded protections to “domestic service” workers in 1974, these Amendments also created a limited exemption from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the Act for casual babysitters and companions for the aged and infirm, and created an exemption from the overtime pay requirement only for live-in domestic workers.Although the regulations governing exemptions have been substantially unchanged since they were promulgated in 1975, the in-home care industry has undergone a dramatic transformation. There has been a growing demand for long-term in-home care, and as a result the in-home care services industry has grown substantially. However, the earnings of in-home care employees remain among the lowest in the service industry, impeding efforts to improve both jobs and care. Moreover, the workers that are employed by in-home care staffing agencies are not the workers that Congress envisioned when it enacted the companionship exemption i.e., neighbors performing elder sitting, but instead are professional caregivers entitled to FLSA protections. In view of these changes, the Department believes it is appropriate to reconsider whether the scope of the regulations are now too broad and not in harmony with Congressional intent.
Home Instead Senior Care has started training its home-care workers in new techniques and strategies to improve care for dementia patients—and is starting to offer the same instruction at no cost online and in person to family caregivers.
“Families need help keeping their loved one safe and mentally engaged and stimulated, and managing difficult behaviors,” says Jeff Huber, Home Instead’s president.
To that end, Home Instead developed a life journal, designed to collect information about a patient’s history “to create a much more effective caring experience,” he says.
The Tampa Bay Times reports today that “a Teaneck, N.J. shoemaker has joined with a California technology company to create a shoe that uses GPS technology that records where a wearer walks- and can send alerts to caregivers if someone … wanders away and gets lost.”
In a San Franscio CBS TV news interview,”Ruth Gay, director of public policy and advocacy with the Alzheimer’s Association in Northern California and Nevada said wandering can have terrible consequences. “Wandering in fact is a very big safety issue. We do know that if people aren’t found within 24 hours, the risk of death goes up substantially. They don’t always know how to protect themselves from the elements or find a safe location,” she said.
The Shoes are available for purchase online at After purchase of the shoes there is a monthly charge (between 35 to 40 dollars) for location alerts. I think this is very cool, because with dementia patients long term memory is the last to go and those actions of long term habit are likely to continue. The act of putting on ones shoe may be an effect habitual tool that Geo-tags your loved one.
The MetLife Mature Market Institute has published a study, show the economic impact of caregiving. The study reports that it is much larger than most people think. Almost 10 million children over the age of 50 are caring for their parents. Hear are the key findings from the report.
• The percentage of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years. Currently, a quarter of adult children, mainly Baby Boomers, provide these types of care to a parent.
• The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these caregivers of parents is nearly $3 trillion.
• For women, the total individual amount of lost wages due to leaving the labor force early because of caregiving responsibilities equals $142,693. The estimated impact of caregiving on lost Social Security benefits is $131,351. A very conservative estimated impact on pensions is approximately $50,000. Thus, in total, the cost impact of caregiving on the individual female caregiver in terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equals $324,044.
• For men, the total individual amount of lost wages due to leaving the labor force early because of caregiving responsibilities equals $89,107. The estimated impact of caregiving on lost Social Security benefits is $144,609. Adding in a conservative estimate of the impact on pensions at $50,000, the total impact equals $283,716 for men, or $303,880 for the average male or female caregiver 50+ who cares for a parent.
• Working and non-working adult children are almost equally as likely to provide care to parents in need.
• Overall, caregiving sons and daughters provide comparable care in many respects, but daughters are more likely to provide basic care and sons are more likely to provide financial assistance.
• Adult children 50+ who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to have fair or poor health than those who do not provide care to their parents.
Assessing the long-term financial impact of caregiving for aging parents on care- givers themselves, especially those who must curtail their working careers to do so, is especially important, since it can jeopardize their future financial security. There is also evidence that caregivers experience considerable health issues as a result of their focus on caring for others. The need for flexibility in the work- place and in policies that would benefit working caregivers are likely to increase in importance as more working caregivers approach their own retirement while still caring for an aging parent.