Perspectives on Aging with Dignity

In this series, Dr. Bruce Chernof discusses issues impacting health and long-term care policy for our aging population, and highlights opportunities that encourage independent living and promote individual control over decisions that impact the lives of older adults.

Raising Expectations: California's 2014 LTSS Scorecard Results

As a physician, I've witnessed first hand the plight of so many families whose lives are thrown into turmoil as an older parent or grandparent takes a fall, suffers an injury and experiences a sudden health decline.  Without warning, families find themselves at the epiccenter of a completely fragmented long-term care system.

Keeping Health Care Costs from Going Awry: Care Coordination is a Key

Sadly for most vulnerable older Californians, their first interaction with long-term services and supports (LTSS) begins in the emergency room. A recent report from California’s Medicaid Research Institute (CAMRI) shows that this perspective is particularly true for individuals covered by Medicare and Medi-Cal.

Quality Care as a Driver for Health System Change

Quality measurement in health care has always been difficult and expensive. In my 30 years in medicine, the focus has been geared more towards measuring outcomes from an acute care perspective rather than quality from the point of view of the individual. For example, documenting hemoglobin A1C levels or body mass index scores may measure clinical quality, yet these markers reveal little about a person’s daily living needs and how decisions about their care are made.

A New Approach to Advancing Aging with Dignity, Choice, and Independence

For all of us, the start of the New Year brings reflection and the chance to chart a bold path forward. As we enter 2014, The SCAN Foundation celebrates its fifth year of working to improve the lives of older adults and their families. Our founding strategic plan set us on a course to raise public awareness, advance realistic policy options, and scale promising programs all in support of aging with dignity and independence. We are honored to have worked with many talented partners who bring leadership and visibility to the field of aging and longterm care.

Caregiver Skills, Emotional Bond, and Safety Are Keys to Satisfaction with Long-Term Care

When it comes to aging with dignity and independence, the enduring dilemma of how people and society should pay for needed long-term care services often grabs the spotlight. But when money is not a primary focus, what are the most important elements to determine whether people are satisfied with the care they receive? The experts at LifePlans Inc., with support from The SCAN Foundation, recently examined satisfaction with care over time for people who needed daily help and were getting it through a long-term care insurance benefit.

What Do You Mean I’m Getting Old? Denial About Aging And Our Impending Long-Term Care Crisis

It is no secret that Americans are aging, but what is too often lost in this fact is that most people will need help as they grow older. Unfortunately, America does not have a strategy to deal with this growing demand. For some, this help comes in the form of needing just a little bit of assistance in the home with cooking meals or getting groceries. For others, it is more comprehensive daily help in assisted living or nursing home care.

Creating Realistic Long-Term Care Solutions as Part of the Entitlement Reform Debate

Great struggles sometimes result in unexpected opportunities.

Synergy for Senior Care: Improving Partnerships Between Medical Services and Community-Based Care

Too often vulnerable older adults are left to fend for themselves when it comes to transitioning from the hospital to the next appropriate care setting.  Stories abound of people being shipped back and forth from the hospital to temporary care to their homes and back to the hospital again when it all goes wrong.  In California, approximately one in five or 81,000 Medicare beneficiaries every year end up re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge for a medical condition that led to the original hospitalizationThis figure increases to 2.5 million Medicare beneficiaries nationally, at a cost of nearly $17 billion a year.  These figures do not account for the human, health, and financial toll that individuals and their loved ones face when stuck in this revolving door.

California’s Pressing Need For Long-Term Care System Transformation

It’s been said that as goes California, so goes the nation. Right now, Californians are not prepared to grow old. A recent poll of voters in the state over the age of 40 shows that nearly half will need long-term care for a close family member within the next five years, yet the same amount say they couldn’t afford even one month of nursing home care. Regardless of political party or income level, voters are also struggling in the current economy to meet their daily living expenses. More than 40 percent of California voters over 40 have had to cut back on food and other basic expenses over the past year. Of those who currently help pay for a loved one’s care, 70 percent are facing financial hardship. The wakeup call for the state is that the increased demand for support will come sooner than expected, and requires immediate and thoughtful action by state leaders.

ACA Decision: Moving Ahead on Health Care Transformation

Over the last 18 months, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been praised, vilified, promoted, and distorted. Yet today the law was upheld by the Roberts Court as constitutional, clearing the path for transforming our health and long-term care system into one that works for all Americans, young and old alike.