Two Ways to Disrupt Aging

We know that people have different needs at each stage of life. Overall, humans move from being very dependent beings to independence and then a turn toward relying more on help from others again. Therefore, we see a growing urgency to disrupt aging policies and procedures to more effectively use existing resources serving the aged and disabled.

Very Different Goals

Take note of the two approaches emerging in reaction to the pending growth in demand for aging services. The traditional knee-jerk reaction of government leaders focuses simply on reducing safety net services. Their mantra is “keep costs in check as needs grow”. This produces the worst kind of disruption in aging.

Thanks More innovative minds believe in creating new methods to maintain quantity and quality of service. They are developing new products to meet growing needs by redeploying existing resources. When the public purchases their value added products and services, this distributes costs, creates jobs, and boosts the general economy. Perhaps a more effective way to disrupt aging.

Tightening the Belt

President Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget is a perfect example of old-fashioned number crunching. The Alliance for Aging Research President and CEO, Susan Peschin, issued this statement. In it she details the grave and unintended consequences of proposed funding cuts in vital home and community-based services (HCBS). These cuts will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable Americans and their already overwhelmed caregivers. Let the chips fall where they may. Collateral damage? No worries at the White House.

Capitalize on the Market Need

On the other hand, innovators are developing products that disrupt aging by improving quality of life across various ages. Take Alexis Ohanian, for example. Ohanian founded Reddit, the social news website and sold it for millions. He was 23 at the time. Currently Ohanian is managing partner at Initialized Capital. Already, the early-stage venture capital firm has invested in a few startups focused on senior services and care.

Ohanian is quoted in Senior Housing News, “Where software excels is being able to store and track lots of things that would otherwise be really time consuming for humans to do, and then give the caregivers the chance to really focus on the things that matter, which is the companionship and the empathy and all the stuff that will always be the domain of humans,” he said. In fact, he believes that caregivers are less replaceable than many other types of workers.

Take a look at our Resources Page to find many of the evolving products and services designed to help us age at home – Simply Home, GreatCall, and GeriJoy, among others.

Vote With Your Wallet

Private investment that results in innovative services and products to improve QOL for seniors and their caregivers. We all have opportunities to vote with our wallets on what works for us.

“New businesses can be created to help alleviate the caregiver supply problem by training people in needed skills, and new types of roles — like the Papa Pal — will probably be created, he thinks. And the pool of available labor could increase as other jobs are in fact taken over more and more by robots. Ohanian pointed to restaurant servers as one example, considering that people will be able to use technology to place their orders.”


Communicate With Your Legislators

Proposed Federal Budget 2020 Funding cuts are blind to the consequences on individuals and communities. Contact your Federal Legislators to voice your opinions.

  • reduce federal Medicaid spending by almost $1.5 trillion,
  • phase in a block grant/per-capita cap change that will negatively impact all low-income citizens living with chronic disease. Particularly devastating to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) and their family caregivers. According to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, about one in four adults living with AD/ADRD in the community rely on Medicaid coverage over the course of a year.
  • Changing Medicaid financing will force states to cut eligibility, reduce benefits, and lower provider reimbursement, particularly for AD/ADRD high-cost enrollees who need substantial services under the program.
  • Medicaid block grants and per capita caps would likely increase costs to states for AD/ADRD care. Research cited by the Family Caregivers Alliance shows that when basic assistance for the needs of daily life is not available, frail elders wind up in high-cost settings—notably hospitals and nursing homes—and overall costs increase.
  • Home care services, which help struggling AD/ADRD family caregivers to keep loved ones together, are at greatest risk of major cuts because home care services are optional under Medicaid while nursing home care is mandatory. On behalf of the millions of American families facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,
  • decrease funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) by $34 million; specifically for low-income seniors to live as independently as possible but who may need some assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing and bathing.
  • reduce by $17.4 billion the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which provides low-income seniors and their families with nutritional assistance, including vouchers for groceries. It is estimated that 4.8 million seniors currently rely on the SNAP program every day.
  • $429 million cut to the National Institute on Aging,
  • $248 million cut to the National Institute on Neurological Diseases and Stroke,
  • $486 to National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute would effectively stunt progress in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research,
  • eliminate the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and folding their responsibilities into the NIH’s research portfolio

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