Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lower the Costs of Caring

An election is brewing in the United States and that means that we will hear a lot of crazy ideas and vicious attacks being made by politicians. Why will they talk like that? They want to fool all of us into thinking they will give us everything we want and their opponents are going to take all our goodies away from us.

IMO, one of the greatest causes of the huge rise in costs of caring has been the professionalizing of care for family members with a chronic need. This has come about because of several factors.

1. Historically, only one member of a couple worked outside the home. This allowed the one that did not work outside the home care for elderly adults and kids with a special need. The fact that in today's families almost everyone works outside the home has dramatically altered the ability of a family to provide all the care dependent relatives need.

2. People are living longer and their condition often demands more professional care.

3. Kids with severe birth defects are more likely to survive today than in the past and those who live require more professional services.

4. Various governmental acts have provided guidelines that require more intensive and extensive care. We must respond appropriately and completely to these regulations.

5. Some professionals and their professional organizations have campaigned hard to spread the false notion that Peer Helpers are inept or dangerous to the health and welfare of people who need special care.

The only one of these points that we can impact is the last. research clearly shows that Peer support and Peer Care can be as effective as most Professionals. We need to get the facts out to the public and to the government agencies that make important decisions about how to best care for people with chronic needs.

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