Innovative Immigration Policies and Long Term Care

The Solution for Long-Term Care Staffing Shortages? Innovative Immigration Policies

Who will care for aging baby boomers? This was the question posed to an expert panel at an event that explored the links between immigration policy and long-term care policy. The online event was hosted by the Center on Children and Families of the Brookings Institute. It brought together leading researchers to present their findings on the role of immigration in caregiving, and to discuss the country’s caregiving needs, and policies to help address them.

Highlights of the discussion included:

  • The link between increased immigration and the increased support available for aging in place.
  • Economic benefits to family caregivers from larger labor pools supported by increased immigration.
  • Improved quality of care that results from a larger labor force and increased immigrant labor.

Anne Tumlinson, CEO of ATI Advisory and a Nexus Fellow, was on hand to provide her analysis of the policy landscape. She pointed to the severe economic impacts experienced by families and family caregivers that results from the lack of a national long-term care system in the United States.

Other challenges raised during the forum include the persistently low wages in the caregiving industry, enormous gaps in Medicare coverage for needed services for older adults, confusing variation by state of the types of services covered by Medicaid, and the difficulties that arise in addressing changing labor needs caused by inflexibility in employment-based channels for legal migration.

Possible solutions proposed included:

  • Addressing the inflexibility in the employment-based channels for legal immigration, to help address shortages and changing caregiving labor needs.
  • Creation of a national long-term care system to serve American families equitably and prevent financial hardships for families caring for loved ones.
  • Reallocating resources to address the persistent low wages in the caregiving industry, and to help create incentives for caregivers to remain in the field.

Read more at Brookings.
View the full discussion.

 

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Wage Increase for Long-Term Care Workers

Leading Industry Experts Support Wage Increase for Long-Term Care Workers

LeadingAge, the country’s second-largest long-term care association, has called upon President Biden to boost worker pay by $5 an hour, according to a report in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. They are also asking for one-time relief payments of $2,000. These requests are part of a six-point relief proposal to address widespread long-term care worker shortages. The proposal was sent to President Biden in a letter from Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge.

David Grabowski, health policy expert at Harvard Medical School and Nexus Insights fellow, fully supports the plan. He is quoted in the article saying that we “would be in much better shape today if policymakers had put this in place at [an earlier] time” but adds that “it’s not too late to do this now.”

Grabowski says that supporting workers in long-term care will help alleviate the staff shortages that lead to overwork and burnout. “Policymakers must also increase benefits and ensure better working conditions. All too often, staff are overworked due to staffing shortages.”

Read the full article in McKnight’s Long-Term News

 

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saving for long-term care

Hey Boomer: Time to Start Planning How to Pay for Long-Term Care

Hey Boomer! Sara Zeff Geber has an important message for you: It’s time to make a plan for your long-term care.

In her recent Forbes article, “Hey Boomer: Medicare Won’t Cover Your Long-Term Care,” Zeff Geber, the author of Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, and a Nexus Insights Fellow, shared some surprising facts. In a  2019 study by Bankers Life, “nearly half of the middle-income boomers surveyed believe they will need care in later life, but almost 80% of them have no plan or savings toward it.”

And, indeed, many seniors will need care later in life. Zeff Geber points to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services, which found that, “Men over 65 men will require an average of 2.3 years of long-term care; women will require an average of 3.2 years.” The expected price tag? “Men who turn 65 in the next few years can expect to spend an average of $142,000 on long-term care needs (nursing and help with everyday functions like bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.). For women, that figure is $176,000.”

Those large numbers are shocking enough. But, according to Zeff Geber, “A shocking 56% of boomers mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for long-term (sometimes called “custodial” care). They are sadly mistaken.” 

Geber offers some suggestions for Boomers to start getting prepared. “The best planning you can do for yourself is to save the money you will need for this kind of care.” Another option? “Take out a long-term care insurance policy.” And avoid the worst option, “Having your daughter/son/niece/nephew/sibling leave their family or work in order to provide you the care you need.”

Read the full article.

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