By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the American Society on Aging’s 2014 Aging in America Conference as both a participant and a speaker.
As a speaker, I conducted a workshop on “Speaking Out: Advocating for Affordable Assisted Living.” My focus was on BMA’s political advocacy efforts for the Illinois Supportive Living program. The program provides seniors and adults with physical disabilities who need some help to maintain their independence with a wonderful residential alternative to a nursing home. It especially benefits low-income individuals and serves as a model for how states can make affordable assisted living available to those who have a need.
Of our 37 senior living communities, 36 operate through the Supportive Living program.
As a participant at the Conference, I discovered a wealth of information about the baby boomers, aging and technology. Here are a few of the highlights:
Medicare Rights Center
The Medicare Rights Center is a national nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure affordable health care for older adults. The organization operates a national telephone helpline to answer questions from people with Medicare, their family and friends. Staff members and trained volunteers can help you understand Medicare benefits, find the right coverage and understand how any existing coverage works with Medicare. The helpline phone number is 1-800-333-4114. You can access the organization’s website at medicarerights.org
Boomers & Aging
Steven French of the National Marketing Institute (NMI) provided some fascinating insights into how the more than 76 million Baby Boomers are going to change the aging landscape.
On average, Boomers want to live until at least 90.
Self-Responsibility is a key trend among Boomers. They are taking more responsibility for their health. The desire to remain independent and concerns about costs are two key reasons why.
The top fears among Boomers about aging are losing brain capacity; running out of money; being a burden on my family/loved ones; heart attack/stroke; and vision problems.
8 out of 10 Boomers want to Age in Place. They will kick and fight to avoid moving. Remaining independent is a top priority. Yet Boomers expect that somebody else will be taking care of them as they age.
The #1 Challenge for caregivers is TIME, having enough time to get everything done and having time for themselves.
French also noted that “we are one of the few societies that mainly live in single generational households.”
Technology & Aging
In a presentation on “Technology and the Quality of Life in the 21st Century,” Katy Fike talked about how we need to look at how we can do more with less. Longevity is increasing. We are facing shortages in the number of health care professionals and caregivers that will be needed. And, the pressure is to reduce costs.
Katy is co-founder of Aging 2.0, a company that connects, educates and supports innovators in aging and long-term care.
Technology already is playing an exciting role.
We now walk around not just with computers in our pockets but with digital technology that connects you with doctors and other health care professionals.
There are new forms of social communication models that enable people to connect in meaningful ways.
We are creating mobile workforces, using tablets and smart phones.
Liftware is helping people with tremors eat independently.
A couple in New York developed Smart Diapers for children, which grew into diapers for older adults that can detect wetness, infections and dehydration.
You can grocery shop from your phone, with the food delivered within two hours.
Katy also mentioned self-driving cars and a way that you can detect whether individuals have digested their medications to help with medication management.
What are your thoughts about the conflict that Boomers have between what they think about self-responsibility, independence and aging in place and what they say about expecting that someone else will be taking care of them?
As you look at aging, what are your biggest fears?
Are we likely to see more acceptance of multi-generational households?
As we look at technology and aging, how do we maintain the human touch?
All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.