Minnesota must focus on senior care

  • Article by: PATTI CULLEN and GAYLE KVENVOLD
  • Updated: February 27, 2013 - 9:50 PM

We are failing to sustain the foundation of our senior care system: the caregivers and the services that keep people in their homes.

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beebee82Feb. 28, 13 9:25 AM

"This call for action comes at a time when the senior care system — which has been built around our state’s values of choice, independent living and quality — is starving for an investment."

Is it really "starving?" We spend 2.5 times as much for the elderly as we do for children. At the federal level, it's 7 to 1. In Minnesota, 11 percent of seniors are below the poverty line, but 18 percent of children and 12 percent of those age 18 to 64 are in poverty. As a whole, seniors are taken care of far better than anyone else.

Home care workers are not the only segment that hasn't seen wage increases — and for a lot longer than four years. These employees aren't the only ones crying out for health care coverage. Rather than selectively choose which careers are "worthy" of health care, we should be pushing for universal coverage.

I don't mean to sound cavalier about the problems facing seniors as they age, but claiming that we aren't spending enough on their care and that those tending to them are somehow more deserving of wage increases is missing the big picture.

I wonder how much of our limited resources we could spend on good home care for seniors if we Medicare spent less on kidney dialysis for all those 70-90 year-old terminally ill patients in nursing homes and hospitals. It's not a death panel to suggest that costly, ineffective treatment shouldn't automatically be paid for by this government program. Personally, if my kidneys started failing in my last weeks of life, I would rather spend those sweet, short days at home than in a hospital bed attached to machines.

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hjlazniFeb. 28, 1312:47 PM

We are talking about people living longer while not earning a living and a large government deficit. People and entities are taxed to pay costs for many needs. Everyone wants to pay as little taxes as possible but desires services to live the best standard of living. By definition, this means you may be recieving more of the benefits than paid for by you. So, how do we decide who gets what and how much someone or entity is taxed. In the U.S. about 40% of the people do not work. There are only so many jobs. Should the U.S. pay every adult $1,500 a month tax free and call it quits with no other payouts. So if four adults live together in a residential unit, they have a minimum of $6,000 a month to live on together no matter how many kids live with them. If a couple have their four parents live with them and their two children than that household recieves $9,000 per month independent of their salaries. Should we have national health care at minor costs to the patient and should we have national legal care at minor costs to the litigants and control health care and legal salaries to levels of policemen and firemen and teachers.If people do not want to care for their elderly, then they have to pay substantial amounts for their residence outside their own or family or group homes. Again, we are talking about people living longer while not earning a living and a large government deficit.

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elind56Feb. 28, 13 5:44 PM

We've lost our way when it comes to how we deal with the aged. There was a time, not that long ago, when most were taken care of by loved ones and ultimately died at home in familiar surroundings with family there to watch, and listen to, the last breath. In this private setting, some of the deceased's favorite liquor might then be poured, followed by a toast to all the good that the person brought to this world during their time here. There was little, if any, in the way of government funding needed for this process. Rare as it is these days, for 9 months I and my siblings lived this story for my father about 10 years ago. It still pays dividends today.

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