Alternatives to Institutional Care Needed for Seniors

Alternatives to Institutional Care Needed for Seniors

Forum highlights long term care issues.

Pat Killeen

Pat Killeen Photo Contributed

A community forum, hosted by Mount Vernon At Home and the Association of Retired Persons, focused on the challenge of a fast-growing aging population of 55 and over: how families can best deal with the organization and financing of home and community-based health services to help people stay in their homes and out of institutions, and, when that is no longer a practical alternative, how to go about making the tough decisions for institutional long term care.

Long Term Care

Who Needs LTC? Persons with a chronic condition requiring assistance from 90 days to years in activities of daily living.

Users of LTC:Infirm elderly; physically and mentally disabled children and adults; developmentally disabled adults, and military veterans.

Health Insurance Questions?Call Virginia Insurance Counseling Assistance program at 703-324-5851

Services for Older Adults (aging, disability, caregiver resources): Call 703-324-7948 or visit: www.fairfaxcounty.g….

ElderLink: For advice, assessment, and counseling for families in need of a care plan for older adults:703-324-5374

Pat Killeen, AARP’s volunteer community ambassador, used a PowerPoint slide presentation at Sherwood Hall Regional Library on Sept. 17 to discuss the long term care challenges facing seniors and family caregivers.

Killeen, a retired insurance executive and college instructor in business management , now volunteers his expertise to AARP by speaking to community groups such as this one.

“We need more home and community-based services as an alternative to institutional care; more programs of information and support for family caregivers; a need to create more support groups so that seniors may share experiences; and policymakers need to address the shortage of supply of caregivers and the lack of adequately paid health professionals providing health services,” he said.

Barbara Sullivan, executive director of MVAH, answered questions and commented on her experiences with long term care in Mount Vernon.

“We need more viable and affordable transportation services … right now there is no transportation services for seniors [except for low income and disabled] … and there are no taxi vouchers for seniors in our area …. Taxi cabs in Mount Vernon are in short supply,” she said. “There is a need for more Older Americans Act money. Right now it is available for low income and disabled but not all seniors. Fairfax County has a great website but many seniors do not have computers and those that have them frequently don’t know how to navigate the site to get the answers they need. The county needs to address this information gap.”