The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has published a new report that looks at Social Security’s role in keeping Americans out of poverty. Poverty is closely linked with compromised access to medical care and lesser health status. Regarding older adults, the Center explains:
“Almost 90 percent of people aged 65 and older receive some of their family income from Social Security. Without Social Security benefits, 43.6 percent of elderly Americans would have incomes below the official poverty line, all else being equal; with Social Security benefits, only 8.7 percent do. These benefits lift some 14.5 million elderly Americans — including 8.7 million women — above the poverty line.
Social Security reduces elderly poverty dramatically in every state in the nation, as Figure 1 and Table 2 show. Without Social Security, the poverty rate for those aged 65 and over would meet or exceed 40 percent in 41 states; with Social Security, it is less than 10 percent in the large majority of states.”
The Scan Foundation has published a new issue brief on who provides long-term care in the United States. Among the findings:
- The vast majority of people who need long-term care – 87 percent – receive services from informal or unpaid caregivers.
- 43.5 million Americans serve as informal caregivers to adults age 50 and older. Two-thirds of these caregivers are female.
- For people who require assistance with activities of daily living, the most common types are getting in and out of bed (40 percent), getting dressed (32 percent) and bathing and showering (26 percent).
- For people who need help with so-called instrumental activities of daily living, the most common types offered by a caregiver are transportation (83 percent) and housework and grocery shopping (both at 75 percent).
- 70 percent to 80 percent of paid long-term care services are provided by direct care workers – certified nursing assistants, personal care aides, and home health aides.
AARP and New York’s United Hospital Fund document the extent to which family caregivers deal with complex medical needs of older relatives in a new report, Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care. It’s based on an online survey of more than 1,600 family caregivers. Important findings include:
“Almost half (46 percent) of family caregivers performed medical/nursing tasks for care recipients with multiple chronic physical and cognitive conditions.
“These tasks include managing multiple medications, helping with assistive devices for mobility, preparing food for special diets, providing wound care, using monitors, managing incontinence, and operating specialized medical equipment.
“Family caregivers reported very few home visits by health care professionals. Sixty-nine percent of the care recipients did not have any home visits by health care professionals. Of those who did have home visits, roughly seven in ten were visited by a nurse.
“Most family caregivers who provided help with five or more medical/nursing tasks believed they were helping their family member avoid institutionalization. Those who provided these tasks and reported they had training were more likely to say they were able to help their family member avoid nursing home placement.
“These significant relationships are important on both the individual and public policy levels.”
AARP’s Public Policy Institute also has published a new issue brief that looks at the impact of family caregiving on work. Of note:
“An estimated 61 percent of family caregivers of adults age 50 and older are currently employed either full-time (50 percent) or part-time (11 percent).”
“Forty-two percent of U.S. workers have provided care for an aging relative or friend in the past five years. About half (49 percent) of the workforce expects to be providing eldercare in the coming five years.”
“In 2011, 17 percent of workers in the United States provided eldercare,5-7 up from 13 percent in 1999.”
If you’ve seen other reports or issue briefs on aging that deserve wide circulation, drop a line below and let us know.