2015 White House Conference on Aging

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

The White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) is a once-a-decade conference sponsored by the Executive Office of the President of the United States which makes policy recommendations to the president and Congress regarding the aged. The first of its kind, the goals of the conference are to promote the dignity, health and economic security of older Americans. It has been claimed that it is perhaps the best-known White House conference. The Conference is held once a decade, with the most recent conference held in earlier this month on July 13th at the White House.

iStock_WhiteHouse_PMHistorically, in 1950, President Harry S. Truman ordered the Federal Security Agency to hold the first national conference on aging. The purpose of this initial conference was to assess the policy challenges posed by a changing populace, particularly in light of numerous changes in federal entitlement programs (such as Social Security) that had been enacted during the previous 20 years. Social Security’s goal was to assist those in need of financial assistance such as the poor, elderly, physically disabled or mentally ill.

In preparation for this decade’s conference, there were five regional conferences around the country purposed to aggregate information and recommendations for the national conference at the White House.

The regional conference took place in

I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to participate n the Cleveland, Ohio regional conference. Take a look at the highlights of the Cleveland WHCoA regional conference. In addition, I wrote a blog recommendation that I’ll share at a later date. From these 5 regional sessions, together with input from other aging leaders and older Americans around the country, common themes were identified and developed into major topic areas. Those topic areas are the following.

Retirement security is a vitally important issue. Financial security in retirement provides essential peace of mind for older Americans, but requires attention during our working lives to ensure that we are well prepared for retirement.

Healthy aging will be all the more important as baby boomers age. As medical advances progress, the opportunities for older Americans to maintain their health and vitality should progress as well and community supports, including housing, are important tools to promote this vitality.

Long-term services and supports remain a priority. Older Americans overwhelmingly prefer to remain independent in the community as they age. They need supports to do so, including a caregiving network and well-supported workforce.

Elder justice is important given that seniors, particularly the oldest older Americans, can be vulnerable to financial exploitation, abuse, and neglect. The Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, and we need to realize its vision of protecting seniors from scam artists and others seeking to take advantage of them.

In an era where cooperation in Washington is not very good, I commend President Obama for moving forward and continuing this historically important White House forum. Several Congressional representatives were in attendance throughout the day. With the sheer number of aging Americans, this is a defining time for issues regarding the health and well-being of our seniors to be aired, understood, and appropriately actioned. The entire country is being impacted. The issues of aging are important to every American, not just our elderly citizens.

OLDER AMERICANS ACT (OAA)

It is worth noting that just after the WHCoA, the critical and politically contentious, reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (S. 192), was passed by a bipartisan action of the Senate on July 16th. The Older Americans Act of 1965 was the first federal level initiative aimed at providing comprehensive services for older adults. It created the National Aging Network comprising the Administration on Aging on the federal level, State Units on Aging, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. The network provides funding – based primarily on the percentage of an area’s population 60 and older – for nutrition and supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services, elder rights programs, the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and the Native American Caregiver Support Program. Since it was enacted into law in 1965, millions of our most vulnerable older Americans have relied on the services provided by the OAA for their health and economic security. These services help older Americans live independently by:

  • Supporting nutrition programs, including Meals-on-Wheels;
  • Providing home and community-based services, including preventive health services and transportation assistance;
  • Assisting family caregivers with information and referral, counseling and respite care;
  • Preventing and detecting elder abuse; and
  • Providing part-time community service employment and training, including the Senior Community Employment Program (SCSEP), which has helped more than 1 million older Americans enter the workforce.

Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act is critical to the health and well-being of millions of our seniors throughout the country. It is my hope that the House will also be led to vote and approve OAA reauthorization before they recess in August. These program are essential to the millions of people who helped to build our country.

I invite you to take a look at the summary of the 2015 WHCoA by accessing the link “2015 White House Conference on Aging“.

National Healthcare Decisions Day & White House Conference on Aging

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

NATIONAL HEALTHCARE DECISIONS DAY (NHDD) — April 16th

My most recent newsletter is singularly focused on the subject of Advanced Healthcare Directives. An advance health care directive, also known as living will, personal directive, advance directive, or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actionsRisk Management should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity. In my recent newsletter I provide the history of this document and the current generation of what is now often deemed as simply Advanced Directives. Simply request the newsletter in the form below and I’ll have it sent to you.

In presentations to employers, I stress the competitive advantage that companies can attain by including this in their Human Resources benefit offerings. I also talk about how critical of an issue Advanced Healthcare Directives are when it comes to sustaining a high level of productivity within an enterprise. April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day. Please take action to include provisions for employees to have access to this service as a benefit of being employed at your company.

WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON AGING — JULY 2015

The Wasa_theme_logo[1]hite House Conference on Aging  (WHCOA) is a once-a-decade conference sponsored by the Executive Office of the President of the United States which makes policy recommendations to the president and Congress regarding the aged. The goals of the conference are to promote the dignity, health and economic security of older Americans. It has been claimed that it is perhaps the best-known White House conference. The Conference is held once a decade, with the most recent conference held in 2005, in preparation for the retirement of the baby boomer generation.

In July of this year, the White House is convening this decades WHCOA. I’ll be attending planning sessions starting next week when I attend the 2015 Aging In America conference in Chicago. This conference of industry professionals on aging is the annual event sponsored by the American Society on Aging.

iStock_WhiteHouse_PMAdditionally, I’m privileged to have been invited to attend an invitation-only ‘issues forum’ sponsored by the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA) in April. Our input will be provided to one of only five pre-conference regional forums held around the nation. Fortunately for us in Ohio, the fifth regional meeting has been scheduled in Cleveland for Monday, April 27.

Given the significance of this historic year (50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the 80th anniversary of Social Security), it is incumbent on aging advocates everywhere to take note of this event, and to ensure that our thoughts about the future of aging and aging services in America are heard.

These are important issues for employers who have to efficiently manage a mufti-generational, increasing diverse workforce. I expect to be sending relevant ‘tweets‘ and blog posts from both the ASA conference and the BRIA issues forum.

 

 

Elder Care in the Workplace — Calculate Your Company’s Loss…Then Manage Your Company’s Risk

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

From time-to-time, my research uncovers great perspectives that help illuminate the challenges associated with “Eldercare in the Workplace”. Dan Henry, Chief Human Resources Officer at Bright Horizons, ran the numbers on elder care as it relates to employers and their employees. In September of 2014 he stated the following.

adding up figures concept with modern white calculator in officeSome numbers just hit you over the head. This is how I felt when I read a Gallup poll the other day called the Cost of Caregiving to the U.S. Economy. The study breaks down the cost of elder care in this country. Here are two of the highlights:

  • One-in-six employed Americans are caring for an elder or disabled relative
  • Each of those people miss an average of 6.6 days each year

Thatƒ’s a pretty significant number all by itself. Then I started to do the math. In a company of 1000 people, one-in-six employees missing an average of 6.6 days annually add up to a loss of more than 1,000 days every year. Thatƒ’s 1000 employees who have elder care responsibilities x 6.6 missed workdays = 1,100 lost days.

Calculating Future Business Losses

That kind of time loss isnƒ’t just days — itƒ’s years. So if youƒ’re running a business with 1,000 people, youƒ’re paying literally the equivalent of three years in lost time every year because people have unsolved elder care challenges. And that was just in 2011. The U.S. Census Bureau says our population is aging, which means the number of people caring for aging relatives is only going to go up. Our own Modern Family Index tells us many employees are seeing elder care in their future.

Sobering Statistics for Employers

For employers, these are sobering statistics and proof that elder care is not just a personal problemƒ’itƒ’s a business problem. Like any other trend ƒ’ technology, demographic, scientific ƒ’ itƒ’s altering the business landscape. And smart employers are looking at it exactly that way ƒ’ pragmatically. Theyƒ’re saying to themselves that to preserve their bottom lines theyƒ’re going to have to approach it head on. Theyƒ’re leading a trend of programs that offer both guidance to employees about how to sift through all the options and also actual, tangible care.

The Importance of Solving for Elder Care

The other aspect to this equation that canƒ’t be ignored is the positive performance effect. Being ƒsandwichedƒ between generations is hard. Taking care ofRisk Management children and elder relatives is hard. Taking care of an elder relative and working is stunningly hard. People who get support from the people they work for (in this case, with elder care) are gratefulƒ and relieved. They pay their employers back not just by showing up, but by being great employees. Elder care responsibilities are a fact of life. Numbers donƒ’t lie. That one-in-six number says your company is going to be affected, no matter who you hire, where youƒ’re located, and what business youƒ’re in. Itƒ’s yet another reason conversations about working families are taking on such urgency. Families arenƒ’t only children. As Ellen Galinsky told NPR IN 2014, ƒ”We may choose to have children but we donƒ’t choose to have parents.ƒ” That makes addressing this challenge good business no matter how you look at it. Because itƒ’s a simple equation: solve for elder care, or watch literally years of hard work go down the drain.

Well said Dan! Helping businesses mitigate this risk is what we do here at Caring Concierge. We have been doing it for years and we’ve been able to assist companies large and small.

Determine Your Company’s ‘Sobering Statistics’

Take a moment to apply the ‘one-in-six’ formula above and you can get a feel for how your company is impacted with respect to employee missed workdays due to elder care issues. Then give us a call. Caring Concierge can help to greatly reduce your companies exposure and enable your employees to confidently and proactively address their elder care issues.

I wish each and every one of you a healthy and successful 2015!

Survey Shows Elder Care a Growing Concern for Adults Balancing Work and Family!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Perhaps it is a sign of age! Not only did 2014 seem to fly by, but each year now seems to come and go faster than ever before! I’m happy to see another year coming and I continue to look upon December both with reflection of the year that was, and with optimism for the year to come.

If you’ve been reading my blog over the years you know that I like data and that I like to report out on what the data tells us. That said, according to a recent study ofAnalytics_iStock_000016503756XSmall_1  more than 5,000 U.S. workers, mid-career employees have become  increasingly dependent on employer-sponsored back-up eldercare  programs. This increase in demand for elder care mirrors the increase in the number of people providing care to an aging relative – more than  40 million people had responsibility for an elder’s care in 2012,  according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The Lasting Impact of Employer-Sponsored Back-up Care, a study conducted by Horizons Workforce Consulting and Russell Matthews, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University, confirms that working men and women  ages 40 to 60 are embracing elder care supports in order to focus and  remain productive at work while feeling confident that their aging  parent – or spouse – has access to quality care.

Sandwich Generation employees, those who care for their aging parents while also supporting their own young children, are particularly impacted. Roughly one out of every eight Americans between the ages of 40 and 60  fall into this group, according to the Pew Research Institute, and  between 7 million and 10
million Americans are providing care for their aging parents from afar with little or no back-up support in the case of an emergency.

“The tensions of child care, eldercare, and work make the Sandwich  Generation most prone to acute caregiver stress.  Not only are they  overwhelmed trying to balance their careers with the demands of  parenthood but also with the responsibility of caring for their own  aging parents. “Having access to  quality back-up care for children and adult relatives can go a long way  toward alleviating stress for these employees and reducing absenteeism  and loss of productivity for their employers” according to David  Lissy, Bright Horizons Chief Executive Officer.

In fact, a recent study surveyed employees who used this type of program within a 6 month period. Of the respondents with adult/eldercare responsibilities:

  • Two-thirds are providing daily living support for an adult relative.
  • Three-quarter are providing health-related supports for their aging family members.
  • Nearly 100% said that having an eldercare benefit like the Back-Up Care  Advantage Program has provided them with a level of comfort and  increased their productivity.
  • Nearly 70% of those surveyed who used the eldercare benefit said that this  benefit has allowed them to work on a day they would have otherwise  missed, and, on average, having access to adult back-up care has allowed employees to work six days in the past six months that they otherwise  would have missed.

If you are like so many companies in the U.S. that have not provided for some form of eldercare assistance for your employees, then make 2015 a year of action. Your company and your employees will greatly benefit from this action. Remember, employers in the U.S., including your company, have an aggregate loss in worker productivity in excess of $33 billion every year directly attributed to employees having to address elder care issues.

Generations @ Christmas1aHAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU ALL

Please reference my blog post from December of 2011 titled Home for the Holiday’s … Gather Critical Information on Your Aging Parents, and my blog post of December 2012, Home for the Holiday’s — Time for an Assessment! I believe that each contain timeless information that you should reference with respect to your aging loved ones. Each of these blogs are less focused on employer/employee issues of lost productivity resulting from the urgency of adult caregiving. Instead, they ask that each of us pay special attention to their older loved ones during this time of the year when family visits are so prevalent.

Ebola—What to do!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Because of the severity of the Ebola virus, I am posting this information on each of my blogs.

The re-emergence of the Ebola virus has caused a global health care concern. As of this post, cases of iStock_Ebola_PMEbola here in the United States have caused us to re-examine our overall preparedness with a ‘real-time’ health emergency. It is no surprise that rumors and inaccurate information is running rampant.

Our recommendation for accurate and up to date information, is the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Click on this link, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html, to learn more about the disease and what you need to know about Ebola.

So what do we do? The CDC has developed quite an extensive checklist for healthcare providers titled, Health Care Provider Preparedness Checklist for Ebola Virus Disease. Although the information is geared mostly to the hospital setting, there is a lot of valuable information that can be used in the workplace setting as well. Under the additional resources section is a link to the Public Health Emergency site where you can register for webinars on the subject and subscribe to stay informed. The CDC checklist can be accessed via the following link:  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/healthcare-provider-checklist-for-ebola.pdf and the Public Health site via http://www.phe.gov.

If you have employee related questions or are unsure how to handle a specific employee situation, such as: an employee returning from travel abroad, questions about their return to work, or more questions of this nature, consult your attorney. He or she can guide you on appropriate H.R. policy for your state.

Eldercare & The Workplace: A Professional and Personal Conversation!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

On Thursday, September 18th, Visiting Angels of Cleveland, Ohio will co-sponsor the Health Care Forum sponsored by Crain’s Cleveland Business. I mention this because I am privileged to be a panelist during one of the breakout sessions at the health care forum. The forum will take place in downtown Cleveland at the new Cleveland Convention Center from 7:00AM to 1:00PM. Preceded by networking and breakfast, the morning will begin at 7:30AM with a keynote address.

FORUM OPENING KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: “Health Care Reform: One Year Later”

• J.B. Silvers, Ph.D. John R. Mannix Medical Mutual of Ohio Professor of Health Care Finance, Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics – School of Medicine CWRU, Weatherhead School of Management

Visiting Angels’ Cleveland, Ohio office is also participating in a breakout panel titled Your employees, their eldercare concerns, your bottom line: What’s it Crains Health Care Forumcosting you?” This panel will be moderated by Crain’s Cleveland Business Publisher John Campanelli. I encourage you to attend and participate in this 90-minute panel that begins at 8:45AM. Below is an overview of the content that will be discussed along with the panel participants.

PANEL #1 – “Your employees, their eldercare concerns, your bottom line: What’s it costing you?”
• Eldercare costs U.S. Businesses more than $33 Billion each year in lost productivity
• How can you calculate your company’s risk?
• What resources are available to help your employees handle their caregiving duties?
• How can businesses build support systems for employees who have significant caregiving duties?

PANELISTS
• Richard Browdie, president & CEO, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
• Eiran Z. Gorodeski, director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Connected Care
• Kevin Johnson, managing director, Visiting Angels
• Claire Zangerle, president and CEO, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio

As readers and subscribers of this blog know, Eldercare and the Workplace is an important topic. So much so, that Visiting Angels of  Cleveland, an independent company that specializes in providing home care for seniors, works with Caring Concierge to extend the assistance available for their clients who are caring for seniors. As a Certified Senior Advisor, and as co-owner of Visiting Angels’ Cleveland, Ohio office, I provide content and subject matter awareness to both company’s.

The health care forum will conclude with a keynote presentation featuring some of northeast Ohio’s national leaders in health care. An overview of the closing keynote presentation and the panel participants are below:

FORUM KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: “Checking the pulse: A conversation with Northeast Ohio’s health care leaders”

PANELISTS
• Akram Boutros, MD, President & CEO, The MetroHealth System
• Delos M. “Toby” Cosgrove, MD, President & CEO, Cleveland Clinic
• Terrence P. Kessler, President & CEO, The Sisters of Charity Health System
• Thomas “Tim” Stover, MD, President & CEO, Akron General Health System
• Thomas F. Zenty III, CEO, University Hospitals

I hope you will be able to attend this informative event. We look forward to speaking with you. For all of the information regarding the Forum, please access the following hypertext link, Crain’s Health Care Forum.

 

Note: Visiting Angels (at Fairhill Partners) is an award wining, full-service senior home care agency providing a comprehensive range of non-medical services. Our experienced caregivers are bonded and insured. We are in our 12th year of operation  and are honored to have served hundreds of seniors in the Greater Cleveland area and surrounding suburban communities.

What Can Management Do…Consider Revisiting MBWA!

by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

From time-to-time, I’m asked to facilitate “lunch and learn” sessions at companies that list us (Caring Concierge) as a benefit resource to their employees. These are excellent sessions for employees to learn how to get prepared for ‘what’s coming’ with respect to adult caregiving or to ask questions about what they are currently trying to manage with regard to eldercare for an aging loved one.

Recently during one of these sessions, I had a senior manager ask me a great question. To paraphrase, he said, “in light of the reluctance of many employees to reveal that they are having adult caregiving issues that are distracting them from their work, how can management help their employees with eldercare issues”. He specifically referenced my comments that many employees are reluctant to share these issues with their employers. I asked him to consider the following.

EMPLOYEE BENEFIT INTRANET — It may seem like a ‘no-brainer’, but some companies do not place benefit resources in the most convenient locations for employees to reference them. Some of the ‘best practices’ I’ve seen include using an internal intranet that employees can reference. It must be kept up to date, and the company intranet must not be allowed to be a ‘passive resource’. Companies have to continue to make sure that it is up current, and that their employees are notified of new opportunities which they might avail themselves. So many employees forget to look internally, at company provided resources, when a crisis arises simply because they haven’t seen these resources since their “New Employee Orientation” session!

iStock_Lunch&LearnSession_PMCompanies should regularly create opportunities such as ‘lunch and learn’ sessions, to keep their employees aware of the assistance resources that are available for them to leverage when necessary. So many companies have benefit resources available for their employees, but spend very little effort in making sure their employees are aware of their existence along with how, why, and when to use them. I believe employers can reduce employee lost productivity by keeping available resources fresh in the minds of their employees.

MBO and MBWA — In management theory and practice, there are a number of methodologies used to task employees and evaluate their outcomes with respect to company goals. Management by Objectives (MBO) remains one of the most prevalent; it is both personally and organizationally focused. However, I believe the best managers still employ a form of an older, less direct method that we used to call “Management by Walking Around” (MBWA). With MBWA, managers kept abreast of work progress by regularly interacting with their direct reports at their assigned work locations. It’s value was not only in knowing the progress of work assignments but it also gave managers the perfect opportunity to interact with the employee in a less formal manner. It was during these ‘walking around’ sessions that sometimes personal issues would come to light. In other words, MBWA often facilitated a ‘deeper’ manager-employee relationship whereby personal issues or crises in the lives of employees would emerge. This was management’s window into reminding employees of benefits that are available to help.

My point is that in our current down-sized/right-sized-high efficiency work environments, by and large, MBWA has gone by the way-side. Nevertheless, incorporating some method of indirect communication with employees is a great way for management to know what’s going on and to remind them of resources that your company might already have available. Together, these are great approaches to reducing lost productivity in the workplace. This includes the+ $33 billion per year that employers in the United States lose directly resulting from employees addressing adult caregiving issues.

%d bloggers like this: