Technology can dramatically reduce caregiving costs
LAS CRUCES, N.M., Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In-home caregiving services cost the average senior about $20,000 per year.
What does $20,000 get for your aging mom or dad?
Approximately 20 hours a week of services such as meal preparation, medication management, transportation and help bathing.
"Many people assume that Medicare will pay for long-term care, but, in reality, it pays very little to nothing," said Paul Johnson, a registered nurse and director of MedCom Care Management for Gilsbar Insurance. "New drugs and health care improvements lead to a longer life expectancy, but they also lead to higher costs that many seniors and their families are unprepared for."
The burden of in-home caregiving costs are unbearable for most families. That burden is particularly tough on women, the primary family caregivers to older adults. According to a recent study published by MetLife, in addition to the costs of professional caregiving, women in the U.S. lose $142,693 in their lifetime due to lost wages from early and/or reduced hours at work. The cost impact of caregiving on the individual female caregiver, combined with lost Social Security benefits, is a staggering $324,044.
"Seniors and their families need to educate themselves on the best options for their specific financial situation," Johnson said. "If they don't make the appropriate preparations prior to a serious accident or illness, the additional stress and unforeseen cost of an incident can be debilitating for the senior, as well as for the family."
Anthony Dohrmann is the CEO of LifeSupport Medical, a company that sells a wireless medical and home safety monitoring system. He suggests that family caregivers look to technology to ease their financial burden.
"Technology today can ease these pressures, pains and worries," Dohrmann said. "Wireless monitoring systems provide 24/7 supervision, medication management and injury prevention and notification."
Dohrmann said medication management and treatment plan compliance are two of caregivers' critical challenges. He added that deaths from medication mistakes are up 700 percent in the last 20 years, and 40 percent of older adults say they're confused about their medication regimen.
"For the family that pays $20,000 per year for 80 hours per month of caregiving services, the aging or ill loved one may be left unsupervised for the remaining 640 hours each month," he said. "And the cost of full-time care is substantially greater."
The wireless monitoring system offered by Dohrmann's company is The Electronic Caregiver. It provides up to 16 monitored medication reminders, four-step fall protection, inactivity detection and monitoring, free courtesy calls to a Class-B Emergency Medical Technician, and immediate notification to family, neighbors, and physicians. Dohrmann said his company is one of the few that offers free fall-prevention training, a suite of injury-prevention educational materials and monthly newsletters that helps customers stay healthy and independent.
"Additionally, we offer our customers a coordinated care plan that helps audit and manage out-of-pocket medical expenses and enforce insurance provider coverage," he said. "At only $479 per year, the annual investment on this technology helps save money, time, gas, stress, and delivers a whopping 97-percent decrease in caregiving costs when compared to in-home caregiving."
According to AARP, 65 million people in the U.S. provide at least 20 hours per week of care for an ill, disabled or aging family member, and 66 percent of family caregivers are women. Approximately 50 percent of care recipients live in their home, but only 28 percent live with a caregiver full time.
For more information about LifeSupport Medical, visit TheElectronicCaregiver.com.
Vice President of Public Relations
SOURCE LifeSupport Medical