Posts Tagged ‘nursing home’

Health care, or wealth care? (Part two)

2009/08/14

Let us say that the unthinkable happens, and the United States adopts nationalized health insurance.  What will this mean?  For one thing, everyone will have to see a doctor at least once a year, and probably more often.  Regular check ups are the single best way of reducing health care costs, by catching problems early.  If a person is injured in an accident, at work, at home, commuting, or out partying, all of their expenses will be covered, including physical therapy.  Bankruptcies as a result of medical costs will cease, and case loads in Emergency Rooms will likely decline significantly.

Who needs the most health care?  The elderly.  As the emphasis in medicine shifts to preventative care from catastrophe care, the elderly will receive more care in terms of check-ups, tests, and evaluations.  Exercise and diet, along with social activities, will become medically directed, instead of individually initiated.  Health care will be about health instead of care.  The elderly are likely to gain in importance to the rest of us, because so many activities will be oriented around the them, because it is much easier to keep an elderly person healthy than it is to get them to recover after being seriously ill.

Extreme procedures, which can prolong life for a short time in an elderly person, or for many years in a younger person, will become rare, because few young people need extreme procedures, and we simply cannot afford to provide them to large numbers of people.  Quality of life will become more important than simply keeping a person alive a little longer, when they are unlikely to ever leave the hospital.  The elderly will be less likely to suffer from cross drug reactions, when a doctor monitors all of their care, instead of people being seen only be specialists.  Tests will become less common, as doctors opinions are not contradicted because of costs to an insurance company which threaten its profits.

Because the emphasis will be on preventing catastrophic illness, specialists will be in less demand.  Instead of expending huge amounts of resources to repair damage caused by lifestyle, huge amounts of resources will be spent changing lifestyles.  Most people have accepted that it is cheaper to wear a bicycle helmet than it is to hire a brain surgeon to repair the effects of a head injury.  Regular exercise is much cheaper than open heart surgery.  Preventing diabetes is much cheaper than treating it.

That isn’t the way things are right now because it is more profitable to deal with catastrophe than it is to prevent one.  Great strides are being made in the treatment of various disorders, but little progress has been made in learning how to get people to change their behavior to prevent the disorders in the first place.  If diabetes is becoming a national epidemic, shouldn’t we be focused on changing behaviors rather than accepting  higher disease rates?

bringing young and old together

2009/06/14

As the realization of how broke we all are sets in, perhaps we can contemplate some changes to save money.  We need new ways of doing things, ways which do not depend on the flagrant spending of money that we don’t have.  We need to look to the past, to see how thing were done before people could use energy so freely and easily.  We need to remember ways of living together which made us stronger, more unified, comfortable.  We need to be open to new ideas, willing to embrace change in the hope that we can learn from the results.  One such new idea is to hold day care classes at assisted living centers and nursing homes.

Currently, we are paying one group of people to take care of our kids, and another group of people to take care of our parents.  There was a time, not all that long ago, when our parents would have raised our children, while we were busy supporting both our children and our parents.  There were no such things as nursing homes, or day care, because those functions were performed within the family.  This is how culture was passed on, not through school.

A great many of the people who have been sentenced to a nursing home are still physically capable of looking after children, they just have some problem which their family did not want to deal with.  Having these people be involved in taking care of children, any children, would be beneficial for both the children and the elders.  And the children don’t have to be related to the elders, because children will accept almost any elder, and elders will accept almost any child.

Elders who actively participate in the care of the children could be compensated in some way, perhaps reducing the cost of their care that their family must cover, or receiving credit towards purchases.  Elders who merely interact with the children would not be considered employees of the day care, and would only receive the attention of young children.

Too many children today don’t know their grandparents, and there are children who have no idea what an elderly person looks like.  Far too many day cares merely take the children for a certain time, without much interaction between the workers and the children.  The children do not get an opportunity to discover what their heritage is, what it is that makes them who they are.

We can save money by having our elders do what they have traditionally done for most of human history, taking care of the children.  Doing so would also provide the benefits of young people learning about their culture, as well as seeing the world through the eyes of someone who has watched the world for a long time.

Saving a little money

2008/11/23

Now that folks are starting to realize that it is not just them, we are all broke, maybe we can start changing some wasteful practices.  Such as paying one set of people to take care of our elders, and another set of people to take care of our children.  Both functions were part of the family experience up until about 60 years ago, the elders taking care of the children, teaching them culture, history, manners, and social skills, until the children were old enough to start taking care of the elders, when they became infirm.  Today, we seperate these two groups, so that many young children never get to know really old people, and our elders pining their days away wishing that they could spend time with children,  Any children.

Many of the people who have been placed in assisted living or nursing facilities are alert, active, and interested in what is going on around them, they simply are in need of care which family members can’t, or won’t, provide.  They are capable of spending an hour or two a few days a week helping to watch over a group of children.  Not by themselves, of course, but with the assistance of young, able bodied people.  And not in the common room of the facility catering to the elders, but in a special, home-like setting, perhaps not even on the same grounds.  Elders could be compensated for their time, and the proceeds used to help defray the cost of their care.

Somehow, a way should be found to utilize the free time, culutural knowledge, and historical background of our elders in socializing our youth.  Very young children love to please elderly people, and elderly people love to spend time with very young children.  When these two populations are allowed to interact, the results are often far more positive than when either interacts with any other age group.  It is a waste to keep them segregated.