Friday, July 18, 2008

Medicaid is NOT the solution

Today's promising headline read, "Solutions for elder-care issues." in the, the Journal News of the Lower Hudson's news site.

Among the solutions? Transfer all mom and dad's assets to your own bank account, so that Medicaid will pick up the cost of their care. Takes all the stress off the sandwich generation kids, and - hey, the government can pick up the tab!

Here's my response:

It's a solution for one individual family to transfer assets and make mom or dad eligible for Medicaid - but it's a societal nightmare. Imagine the implications if all 18.2 million individuals over 85 paid no portion of their own care, but left it all up to the government in the form of subsidies and Medicaid. No longer would the individual family benefit - we'd all be paying the cost through tax rates through the roof.

I believe it is time to look for more creative solutions that benefit not just the heirs but the greater society as well. Perhaps if we start by recognizing those who provide care in this country and honoring, training and valuing these individuals, more people will be willing to take on this work. We need honest discussions about best ways - and places - to provide care to individuals, whether they need just a little support or are fully dependent.

Being a tightly squeezed member of the sandwich generation myself, I know that this is not a battle for me alone. We're facing these issues with both sets of parents, at the same time we're having discussions among ourselves, our siblings and children about how we want to handle our own aging needs when they arise. While we don't have unlimited assets, we all have some ability to plan, to pay and to creatively address these challenges - not to leave the solutions to "the government."

As we boomers age, we may rediscover the commune - now for mutual caring purposes. We may find that we can afford the services we need (and want) best by joining together with others. We may find other creative options that work for many, and are affordable in cost.

We WILL need individuals from the younger generation who find personal meaning and societal value in providing care. We WILL need to invest in their training as well, if we want quality care for our parents today, and ourselves tomorrow.

For my part, I've dedicated my time and resources to developing training programs, accessible via the internet, to train not only the minds but also the hearts of the next generation of caregivers. It's a professional focus, but it's also very, very personal.

Join me for creative solutions to this challenge,

Sharon K. Brothers, MSW
aQuire Training Solutions

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