Sunday, February 25, 2007

Not having the courtesy to die

The fastest growing segment of our population are our seniors. A cottage industry of geriatric services has sprung up in the last decade. Unfortunately, accountability has not grown with the industry. These facilities pay their employees less money than one would receive managing a fast food restaurant. Most receive their operating funds from government funding sources.

Years ago, I one of my clients provided these services for their community. Because of the complicated bureaucracy mandated by the funding sources, they had to allocate resources needed to care for their senior toward accountants. The actual caregivers had to work in an organization or a lot of overtime in order make a living wage. The turnover is high because of the low wages and unattractive daily duties. Those who stay, generally love their job, but that number is in steady decline.

There are millions of dollars that flow through these companies. Unless you have older relatives in your orbit, you haven't noticed how seniors are afraid of people they perceive to be in authority. It is usually, a younger family who advocates for basic rights over the protests of the senior victim. So you have people who are spending their final years living in fear. Not good.

There are standards that exist, they must be enforced. The next step is to reduce the bureaucracy. Followed by increasing the reimbursements. Then the actual caretakers only have to work one job. This will reduce fatigue, stress thereby reducing the injuries to the clients and the employees. This will reduce operating costs such as workers' compensation and liability insurance.

Just like we in society are afraid to face the possibility of being poor, getting older is not high on our wish list. We as a society need to address this issue now, because we are more likely to end up in one of these facilities than the loving comfort of a family environment.

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