The Baby Boomer Nightmare

For years you have set the pace for others to follow. You have worked hard, wisely selecting your career, business or place of employment that would meet you and your family needs during your working years and hopefully for your retirement years as well. You have witnessed a dramatic change in how to do business in today’s world. You have seen what you thought were sound retirement programs being replaced with 401K involvement plans, investment to secure your future rather than be loyal to secure your future. You have seen the job market change from long term secure jobs to job jumping every few years to better your life but without security. You have seen health benefits change, the exercise boom as a way of life, dieting and weight control also as a way of life. Smoking which was the “in” fad of youth is now penalized with high cost, negative advertising and shocking medical statistics. We have moved in our society from commercials with our generation, as the main focus stars to those involving the activities of the younger generation and Baby Boomers are the stars of medication, medical equipment, and laxative and vision ads.

As Baby Boomers, you have gone from worrying about Mom and Dad living alone at home and being safe, to having your children beginning to worry about weather and for how long you will be safe living alone in your own home. Pills, ills and doctor bills are becoming a greater and greater part of your life. Retirement communities are geared up and focusing on your business in the very near future. Much of the news on radio and television is concerned with “Are we ready for the Baby Boomers to reach retirement age?”

The time has come for you to look realistically and not through rose tinted glasses at the end of life issues that must be addressed by everyone at one time or another. Now is not the time to panic, now is the time to wisely execute the plans that you have established. Now is the time to see what really will benefit you and give you the greatest bang for your buck in your retirement years, “The Golden Years” as they are referred to.

I want you to look at a less known avenue other than Nursing Homes and Assisted Living that will meet your needs and stretch your funds. It is presently a little known industry called Adult Family Homes. Presently I live in Washington State where Adult Family Homes are diamonds in the rough. Neatly tucked away places within the community that are licensed by the State of Washington to care for currently up to six people at a time. Staffing level at worst is 6:1 in this close nit community living designed to care for the aging needs of the Baby Boomers. Adult Family Homes are usually only a fraction of the cost of “facility” type living with three square meals and most owners are credentialed as Certified Nursing Assistants, Registered Nursing Assistants, Licensed Practical Nurses or Registered Nurses, qualified.

If you are one of those people who thought Nursing Homes and Assisted Living facilities were all there were for your future, “Welcome to the world of Adult Family Home living!”

Adult Family Homes are private residential homes, which care for one to six people ages 18 or older. These privately owned homes provide room, board, laundry, necessary supervision with medications, and assistance with activities of daily living, personal care, and social services. They can also provide some additional nursing oversight and services. All Adult Family Homes are licensed, regulated and inspected by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Disabilities and Long Term Care Administration.

Adult Family Homes are available to people with a variety of functional limitations found in the older population and some people may be with other disabilities (e.g. developmental disabilities, mental illness, physical disabilities). Adult Family Homes usually have a mix of male and female residents. Couples can usually be arranged for as well.

Adult Family Homes provide a written plan of services required that states the needs of the individual and what assistance will be provided. The individual, family and Adult Family Home provider jointly prepare the plan, preferably prior to the individual’s move into the home. The goal is to allow care as needed for each individual, yet freedom to do things they are still able to do without assistance, or with some supervision.

Adult Family Home Providers

Adult Family Home provider must be individuals (at least 21 years old), for-profit companies/corporations, nonprofit organizations, or other partnerships or associations. Providers must meet all state qualifications and requirements for an initial license, and yearly renewals. These requirements include:

· 22 hours of pre-service training and 10 hours per year to renew their license

· Criminal background check of all employees

· Home inspection (to meet specific health and safety standards as defined by law) and re-inspections approximately every 12 months

· Homes found to violate rules must make corrections to retain their license. These are similar to actions taken by large facilities like nursing homes and assisted living.

· Specialty training is required when a provider desires to serve people with developmental disabilities, dementia or other special conditions (defined by law).

Adult Family Home operators may provide care themselves, or hire and supervise caregivers who will provide care. Caregivers must meet the same personal and criminal background check requirements as the owners/providers, and many of the same training requirements.

Don Sutton

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