Web conference will help caregivers plan

Published 9:24 pm Saturday, October 31, 2009

Suffolk seniors, already vulnerable because of the ongoing recession, now face a new risk — lack of knowledge and planning needed to safeguard their care decisions.

Planning for care is out of sight and out of mind for half of seniors ages 65 to 75 who have not thought about their own future care needs, according to a new study of seniors and adult children. What’s more, the adult children, who often are responsible for the care of their parents, are equally in the dark. Nearly three-fourths of 35- to 64-year-olds, when unaided in the survey, could name no more than two of eight options available to seniors who can no longer live independently.

To help Suffolk family caregivers start the planning process, the non-profit National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) and Home Instead Senior Care will be sponsoring a free Web conference Nov. 19 entitled “The Best Care for Your Parents: Senior Care Solutions and Potential Pitfalls.”

“Seniors ages 65 to 75 may be on the verge of needing care, which makes this survey data particularly alarming,” said Larry and Nell Neal, owners of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Suffolk. “That’s why our company is sponsoring this Web conference. Lack of information and misinformation puts the largest generation of Baby Boomers at risk as they move toward retirement and could spell disaster for the future of many older adults in our area, particularly those hard-hit by the recession.”

Even more concerning than senior care lack of knowledge is the cost and pay issue — both seniors and adult children believe that Social Security and Medicare will pay for senior care. However, Social Security only provides basic living expenses for most people and Medicare doesn’t pay for long-term care. Furthermore, Home Instead Senior Care survey respondents were unfamiliar with the price of today’s care options, underestimating the costs of nursing homes and overestimating the price of options like assisted living facilities.

The Web conference, which is designed to help family caregivers plan for the care of their senior loved ones, features two nationally noteworthy and experienced senior care professionals. Co-hosting will be Suzanne Mintz, President and CEO of the non-profit NFCA, and Home Instead Senior Care Co-Founder and CEO Paul Hogan.

The 45-minute Web conference, held in conjunction with National Family Caregiver’s Month in November, will begin at 7 p.m. To register, go to www.caregiverstress.com.