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Missing Link - Companion Care
Old 08-11-2016, 05:49 PM   #1
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Missing Link - Companion Care

To begin a discussion on what may be a possible solution for the growing cost in wealth and manpower that comes from the fact that we are an aging population.

If it exists as a part of our economic structure, it is not well known or recognized.

I would posit this as an opportunity for the future... as part of a change for a lagging economy, and the incredible unfunded liability that is the healthcare system.

Your thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2016, 06:49 PM   #2
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jazz4cash wrote this:
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There was a guy on CNBC the other day with a startup that seemed to mimic Uber or Angie's List but for in-home caregivers. Seemed like it could be an option for some. The outfit was expanding from CA to TX with plans to go nationwide.
This is the direction that I hoped this thread would take.

Between here and our place in Florida, we know a large number of widows and widowers who are living alone, but on limited means.

At the same time, there are others who are living alone in houses... who have cars, and enough money to live without worrying about the next ten or 15 years... but have physical or cognitive problems that need some support.

Another neighbor (85 at the time) who lived across the street from me had plenty of money, but needed a wheelchair, and help in getting around as well as for housework and cooking for meals. In some fashion, she connected with a lady (65) who had been living on Social Security in an apartment in a poor part of Chicago.

A perfect arrangement for more than 10 years. Companionship and care for one, and a reasonably safe and luxury life (with an auto) for the other.

Why not? Why not some kind of structure for bringing people together, without the maze of rules, regulations and paperwork... in an organized manner, as a non profit operation.

Does anything like this exist in your town?
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Old 08-11-2016, 07:46 PM   #3
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My sister was trying to start a service where she would check in on elderly clients. She would not only talk with them to see how they are doing, but verify that the meds were taken (she couldn't fill the pill boxes or get the meds out, just verify they were taken), make sure the house was kept up, food in the fridge etc. She would then report to the designated family member how their loved one was doing. She told me people thought this was a wonderful service, but they thought it should be free (or extremely low cost) since she doesn't "do" anything! She gave up when her husband retired and they moved to the coast.


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Old 08-11-2016, 08:01 PM   #4
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Of course it should be free, everything should be free! Free, free, free!

She drove there, checked out the place had a chat and made a report. Yup, did nothing and should not be paid. Amazing.

No wonder she left.
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:49 PM   #5
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As it is the typical task of a wife or daughter it must be free (tongue in cheek).
The live in help, mostly a woman, would give up a lot of her independence, time, safe housing, for less than a rental or employment contract. She must have been desperate to do that. What did she do at age 75?
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:19 AM   #6
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Why not? Why not some kind of structure for bringing people together, without the maze of rules, regulations and paperwork... in an organized manner, as a non profit operation.
I can't imagine getting care for DW or DM that has structure but not subject to some set of rules and regulations and not scrutinized. My dear father often said to me "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:34 AM   #7
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I inquired with our local township's senior center if there were older people that needed free light maintenance / repair work done so they could stay in their homes (change high light bulbs, maybe build a ramp, etc).

The response was that it was a wonderful thought, but there was just too much risk involved that I would be a criminal. I see their point, but it seems like it is a solvable problem with a huge upside.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:53 AM   #8
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I can't imagine getting care for DW or DM that has structure but not subject to some set of rules and regulations and not scrutinized. My dear father often said to me "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
This. There are just way too many people that are looking to defraud the elderly; it's an easy game and the fruit is low hanging and in these parts, it's down right rampant. So, the need for extensive oversite is there.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:54 AM   #9
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This is a real problem for cash strapped seniors without family. Like MichaelB I would worry about vetting of the providers/participants. I am a member of and volunteer in a nonprofit that helps seniors age in place (the Village movement) and does a pretty good job of vetting and monitoring volunteers. Villages provide some of the services described above but at a cost. Ours provides a fair number of free memberships to cash strapped seniors living in our area but only because there are a lot of members with money. A Village is hard enough to establish and maintain in a wealthy community. I doubt many or any have flourished in impoverished areas.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:05 AM   #10
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As MichaelB and others mentioned, getting into an area where no one is watching the watcher could turn into a disaster. Another point is the legitimacy of the service, and how you present the costs for reimbursement, or tax credit, if that is possible.
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:46 AM   #11
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Imoldernu..I think your heart is in the right place, but it would be SO risky to actually implement...

I agree with others that more than less would look at such an opportunity to defraud or worse, the person being cared for. And it is hard work to do that for a relative, much less someone you don't know personally.

I think about what will I do when I get old. I have no kids or husband. It's been kind of fun having all the money and the time to do what I want without any question, but being old with no one is not going to be fun. No one wants to be around old people for pay, much less for free any more. I am "only" 60 and I am already invisible.

On another note, it's getting downright scary to have contractors come into your home to work. You just never know. And as a single woman, I am actually afraid to hire work done inside where people can see my belongings, how secure my house may be, etc.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:23 AM   #12
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I think about what will I do when I get old. I have no kids or husband. It's been kind of fun having all the money and the time to do what I want without any question, but being old with no one is not going to be fun. No one wants to be around old people for pay, much less for free any more. I am "only" 60 and I am already invisible.

On another note, it's getting downright scary to have contractors come into your home to work. You just never know. And as a single woman, I am actually afraid to hire work done inside where people can see my belongings, how secure my house may be, etc.
I'm facing this; I'm 63 and DH has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 78. The first thing I'm gonna do after DH goes (which could be a year, could be months) is get a fancy security system.

We have a service here called Seniors Helping Seniors- I know this because a 60-year old woman (who noted that she was healthy, employed and living independently) wrote a Letter to the Editor saying she needed a medical test which required sedation and thus, a driver who would wait there. Seniors Helping Seniors could supply someone but it was $25 or $30/hour, which she said she couldn't afford so she wasn't going to get the test.

There's definitely a need for these service but, as others have noted, not many are willing to pay what it takes to get someone honest and dependable with the right vetting and supervision.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:25 AM   #13
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I think my posts misdirected the discussion.

I was hoping to build on the idea of a live-in companion, where companion services would be rendered, but as a trade off of care, for the security of a good home, and the ability to live a life that would otherwise be pressured by the need to work just to exist. Think the tired older lady who is standing at the cash register at Walmart for eight hours a day.

So here's how it worked for my neighbor.
The home owner who needed care, connected with a younger widow who had lived on subsistence in a bad part of Chicago. While I don't know what kind of payment was involved, I know it was not anywhere near the $22/hr for local caregivers. Maybe more like a one or two hundred dollars a week, which she could bank, as all of her other expenses were covered by the home owner at a a small incremental cost, mostly for food.

It was a symbiotic relationship, which worked perfectly, and allowed the owners family to live uninterrupted lives, without the constant worry of emergencies.

I wouldn't pretend to propose a method for developing a means of expanding this idea, as obviously it would require some basic rules and background research, but there is some precedent for matching up compatible individuals, as in online dating sites, such as Christian Mingle.

An aside... When the homeowner passed away, the lady who was the caregiver, was able to choose between five different new homes, and is still comfortably settled and happy.

Why should we move some of these services away from the business sector? Because it will be a financial impossibility to accommodate the rising aging population.The per capita cost for unfunded liabilities is already more than $800,OOO, and that's just for a child being born today.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post

We have a service here called Seniors Helping Seniors- I know this because a 60-year old woman (who noted that she was healthy, employed and living independently) wrote a Letter to the Editor saying she needed a medical test which required sedation and thus, a driver who would wait there. Seniors Helping Seniors could supply someone but it was $25 or $30/hour, which she said she couldn't afford so she wasn't going to get the test.
My 96 year old sister's kids want her to start using Visiting Angles. Once again, this is paid service so undoubtedly not cheap.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:30 AM   #15
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jazz4cash wrote this:


This is the direction that I hoped this thread would take.

Between here and our place in Florida, we know a large number of widows and widowers who are living alone, but on limited means.

At the same time, there are others who are living alone in houses... who have cars, and enough money to live without worrying about the next ten or 15 years... but have physical or cognitive problems that need some support.

Another neighbor (85 at the time) who lived across the street from me had plenty of money, but needed a wheelchair, and help in getting around as well as for housework and cooking for meals. In some fashion, she connected with a lady (65) who had been living on Social Security in an apartment in a poor part of Chicago.

A perfect arrangement for more than 10 years. Companionship and care for one, and a reasonably safe and luxury life (with an auto) for the other.

Why not? Why not some kind of structure for bringing people together, without the maze of rules, regulations and paperwork... in an organized manner, as a non profit operation.

Does anything like this exist in your town?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
I can't imagine getting care for DW or DM that has structure but not subject to some set of rules and regulations and not scrutinized. My dear father often said to me "the road to hell is paved with good intentions".
Quote:
Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
I'm facing this; I'm 63 and DH has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 78. The first thing I'm gonna do after DH goes (which could be a year, could be months) is get a fancy security system.

We have a service here called Seniors Helping Seniors- I know this because a 60-year old woman (who noted that she was healthy, employed and living independently) wrote a Letter to the Editor saying she needed a medical test which required sedation and thus, a driver who would wait there. Seniors Helping Seniors could supply someone but it was $25 or $30/hour, which she said she couldn't afford so she wasn't going to get the test.

There's definitely a need for these service but, as others have noted, not many are willing to pay what it takes to get someone honest and dependable with the right vetting and supervision.
Depending on the population count, there are probably other services for $15-20. Still, that probably is out of reach of many.

Wondering how difficult it would be to offer a service like this. Get a security check. Get a van. Get bonded, obtain appropriate insurance.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:33 AM   #16
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I think my posts misdirected the discussion.

I was hoping to build on the idea of a live-in companion, where companion services would be rendered, but as a trade off of care, for the security of a good home, and the ability to live a life that would otherwise be pressured by the need to work just to exist. Think the tired older lady who is standing at the cash register at Walmart for eight hours a day...


I wouldn't pretend to propose a method for developing a means of expanding this idea, as obviously it would require some basic rules and background research, but there is some precedent for matching up compatible individuals, as in online dating sites, such as Christian Mingle.
I think most of us simply don't know how this would work. It would need very good oversight to avoid abuse - after all we are talking about seniors without a support network or money. No level of government is funded for this. If we asked for government oversight we could expect what we see with foster care - some decent programs and some horror-shows. Maybe church groups could step up to the plate. Maybe they do in some locations.
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:01 AM   #17
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I think my posts misdirected the discussion.

I was hoping to build on the idea of a live-in companion, where companion services would be rendered, but as a trade off of care, for the security of a good home, and the ability to live a life that would otherwise be pressured by the need to work just to exist. Think the tired older lady who is standing at the cash register at Walmart for eight hours a day.

So here's how it worked for my neighbor.
The home owner who needed care, connected with a younger widow who had lived on subsistence in a bad part of Chicago. While I don't know what kind of payment was involved, I know it was not anywhere near the $22/hr for local caregivers. Maybe more like a one or two hundred dollars a week, which she could bank, as all of her other expenses were covered by the home owner at a a small incremental cost, mostly for food.

It was a symbiotic relationship, which worked perfectly, and allowed the owners family to live uninterrupted lives, without the constant worry of emergencies.

I wouldn't pretend to propose a method for developing a means of expanding this idea, as obviously it would require some basic rules and background research, but there is some precedent for matching up compatible individuals, as in online dating sites, such as Christian Mingle.

An aside... When the homeowner passed away, the lady who was the caregiver, was able to choose between five different new homes, and is still comfortably settled and happy.

Why should we move some of these services away from the business sector? Because it will be a financial impossibility to accommodate the rising aging population.The per capita cost for unfunded liabilities is already more than $800,OOO, and that's just for a child being born today.

This reminds me of the sites I use for house/petsitting exchange. The houseowner provides a nice place (hopefully, lol) for someone to stay while the housesitter provides free pet/housecare. It is an exchange of services, and typically no money is involved.

The websites I use require the housesitter to pay a yearly fee to see the housesits offered. They are not involved in vetting the housesitter or homeowner. It is made clear that that is the responsibility of those involved. They just provide a means for interested parties to connect. One site also allows homeowners to rate confirmed housesitters. In this way, the housesitter earns a reputation.

So they transfer the liability to the homeowner/housesitter. I'm guessing there is fancy legal stuff set up on the user agreements to this effect.

This type of service wouldn't protect an eldery person from being taken advantage of. However it wouldn't claim to do so, just like dating sites (I presume) do not offer any statements of protection/vetting of individuals. Or airBnB. Or couchsurfing. At least I presume they have figured out how to not place the business in a position of severe liability. Proceed at your own risk kind of thing? I'm sure it is not as simple as that, but it is food for thought.
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Old 08-12-2016, 12:42 PM   #18
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I could see the OP's proposal working in my case- maybe. Our house was set up with 2 bedrooms, a full bath and a full kitchen area downstairs, as a well as a porch with a view of the lake. The parents of the wife of the couple who owned it previously lived there for 13 years. It would certainly be a nice place for a young couple to live in exchange for helping me out as I get old and creaky.


Still- I'd be very paranoid. I keep a lot of jewelry around at any give time (most, but not all in the safe). They could hack into my computer. They could just quit doing what they agreed to do and refuse to move out.


Yeah, I worry a lot!
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Old 08-12-2016, 06:47 PM   #19
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Still- I'd be very paranoid. I keep a lot of jewelry around at any give time (most, but not all in the safe). They could hack into my computer. They could just quit doing what they agreed to do and refuse to move out.
And you should be paranoid. I'm a retired fraud investigator. I saw a LOT of financial elder abuse and theft by mostly family but sometimes acquaintances.

Two stick in my mind. One was a retired Army nurse who had severe short term memory loss. Some tree trimmers did some tree trimming and she paid them. They came back the next day and she paid them again. Rinse and repeat for ~a week, when a neighbor noticed and called. I visited her she didn't remember anything. I left my business card on the coffee table and before I got back to the office (20 minutes) another neighbor had called, asking why I was there as she had no recollection of me visiting her. Most people remember at least for a while when the police visit them. The frustrating part was that even though I had the bank film of them cashing the checks the State's Attorney declined prosecution because she was an unreliable witness. I thought he was a wuss because he didn't want to risk losing a case and getting a bad rating. Very frustrating.

The other was a retired guy with cognitive issues and neighbors in a not-so-nice neighborhood found out he had some money saved and managed to scam him out of it leaving him destitute. It was all cash so no paper trail and I couldn't prove a thing. Again, very frustrating.

So while the OP's idea sounds good, and it worked in the instance he cites because the caregiver was honest, all too often does not work that way. As one guy I worked with put it "Most people are pretty decent, but let us not lead our brothers into temptation" meaning do not offer the opportunity to let others take advantage of you.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:28 PM   #20
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Walt34 thanks for the descriptions. That's what would scare me, too easy to influence someone you had unlimited access to. Expecially if they were having coping issues. We've all heard of families who take advantage of sick elders, imagine some polished con.

The concept makes sense, both parties benefit from the relationship. Then come humans.
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