Honor, a start-up focused on care for the elderly, isn’t just looking to use technology to improve things; it’s looking at the people, too. Honor co-founder Seth Sternberg thinks a lot of the problems in the elder-care industry stem from the way we compensate and incentivize employees. Apparently, most caregivers are contract employees, with no long term relationship to the employer, and little to no opportunity for advancement. Honor is changing that by bringing their staff on as W-2 employees. It will be interesting to see the effect it has, and if other organizations follow their lead.
Everyone talks about the aging population — but they’re generally talking about those age 65 and older. Let’s face it, sixty-five isn’t as old as it used to be. What’s really interesting is the growth rate at the top end of the curve. With rampant disregard for Psalm 90s lamentations for those whose strength pushes them past three-score-and-ten all the way to four-score, the centenarian (that’s five-score or more, for those keeping count) population in the U.S. is projected to surpass 300,000 in the next few decades!
I’ve covered senior citizen engaging in activities generally more representative of the young several times — from car racing to pole dancing — but this may take the cake. A pair of 71-year-old yachtsmen have been trying to sail across the ocean. Sailing is challenging work for anyone, and ocean crossings are understandably difficult. These two have been trying to get from Norway to Maine since July. They’ve just had to call rescue services for the 7th time, and are off the coat of Cornwall. But they seem to be taking it in good spirits, so I say, “Ahoy!”
Every year, the AARP offers tax-preparation assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals and families — particularly those 60 and over. If you google “AARP tax-aide”, you’ll likely find the exact information for your location, but generally programs are kicking off between January 28th and February 3rd, at more than 5,000 locations around the country. To find out your nearest location, you can search directly on AARP’s site. In many areas, they’re still looking for volunteers, too.
If you follow the news, even if you don’t use such a service, you’ve probably heard of Uber. But you may not have heard of one of their main competitors: Lyft. With these services, you use your smartphone to virtually hail a car that will take you wherever you’re going, and automatically bill your credit card. Well, for many seniors, the problem is that they don’t have a smartphone. Lyft has just announced a pilot program in NYC to allow seniors to use the service without a smartphone to get to things like medical appointments. Here’s hoping the trial goes well, and Lyft rolls the program out, nationwide.
A few weeks ago, a bunch of senior citizens “occupied” — in the #occupywallstreet sense — a New York City post office. The specific nature of the protest doesn’t really matter — I’m sure not too many of my readers are concerned with seating in Manhattan post offices. But, it got me thinking. As we get older, we tend to lose a little of that fire we had in our youth. But the truth of the matter is, we also have a fair bit of wisdom, and it seems sad that we don’t more often share it. And in the United States, the First Amendment is there for a reason. So, why not get out there and exercise your right to assemble, and share some of your wisdom?
Sometimes, when Americans put their minds to something, great things can be achieved. That’s how we got to the moon. The American Heart Association, Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences), and AstraZeneca are trying to achieve something no less astounding: a cure for coronary heart disease. They’re looking for scientists, doctors, or researchers that have an idea, and are willing to fund that idea to the tune of $75 million dollars. So, spread the word. Let everyone you know, know about this, and maybe something brilliant can happen. They begin accepting applications February 1, at www.onebraveidea.com.
You just can’t make these things up. As we’ve highlighted several times, the elderly population is continually growing in the U.S., so … you wouldn’t think that finding a senior citizen would be that big of a problem. Particularly for a director of an agency serving the elderly. Nevertheless, apparently Sue Steinhouse couldn’t find one for her press conference, so she did the only natural thing — she pulled a Ms. Doubtfire, and convinced a middle-aged male bus driver to pose as an elderly woman. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.
As a larger and larger percentage of our population join the ranks of the elderly (projected to be 20% by 2050), no matter how much longer we’re able to take care of ourselves and stay at home, more and more of us will end up in “retirement communities” of one form or another. That makes it all the more important that these facilities actually take care of the elderly, and today, it’s all too often the case that they don’t. This article highlights the larger problem by describing one particular instance in North Carolina.
With all the attention paid to the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obama Care), both of the last several years, and now in the on-going debates heading into the conventions, it’s easy to forget that needs for different demographics are different than needs for the population as a whole — pediatric care, maternal care, care for the disabled, veteran care, and, most importantly from this blog’s perspective, senior care. Hawaii has introduced a new bill, which they hope will serve as a national model for long-term health-care for seniors. Check it out.