Long Term Care of Elderly People Essay

Provision of the most appropriate health care services has been US government’s top priority over the past decades. A significant number of Americans, particularly the poor and elderly have been found to be uninsured or underinsured (Swartz, 2007).

Every individual yearns for long term care and the federal government together with the private sector has made concerted efforts to bring this dream into reality. This essay discusses some of the factors that cause many families not to be keen on anticipating the cost of long term care especially for the elderly and what implications it has on employers of those who care for their family members.

The essay further analysis the factors that impede access of mental health services in the US and how WWI and WWII helped in creating awareness of this disorder among the federal government and the public. A discussion of the erroneous assumptions about the treatment of mental illness is presented. It also presents a personal opinion of the various methods used to ensure eligibility for Medicaid support of long term care expenses.

There has been an increasing longevity of Americans and the cost of providing long term care. This means that families ought to be financially prepared for the cost implications. However, research findings reveal that very few families and individuals take this consideration seriously (Sultz, & Young, 2005).

Some of the factors impeding the advance planning have been identified. One of the reasons is the misconception that long term care only applies to those at an advanced age yet about 40 percent of Americans receiving this care range from 18 to 64 years old. Many also rely on other healthcare services yet most of them are not long-term oriented. This makes many families fail in considering the need for long term care.

Moreover, many families are unaware of the existing options of care and how they are funded. The lack of critical information causes many families to loose their assets as well as earnings (Sultz, & Young, 2005). Educating the people about the available options and helping them decide on the appropriate type of long term care will go a long way in planning for the future. Partners/spouses, family members and other stakeholders should be engaged in making these key considerations.

A significant number, over 75%, of elderly people in the US needing assistance are cared for by family members, many of whom work outside the home. The challenge for the employed family members is to balance between their jobs and giving appropriate care to the elderly which in turn impacts on the employers (Swartz, 2007).

An employer who has been chosen as the chief caretaker of an elder family member will be adversely affected in discharging his duties at work. Employers have therefore made attempts to formulate policies that can help those engaged in the provision of long term care for a family member (Sultz, & Young, 2005). This responsibility should not be underplayed by employers, instead, they ought to provide support and respite where necessary.

Those who receive mental health services in the US represent a small fraction of those in need of services. Mental illnesses have been known to be the second largest cause of disability in America (Robins & Regier, 2008). Researchers have identified a number of factors impeding access to mental illness treatment.

One of the key factors is total lack of access to appropriate care due to existing policies which does not ensure the provision of proper mental health services. Providers have been failing to consider equity when it comes to financing mental health benefits. Recent legislations have been seeking to address these problems. The second factor is that of stigmatization of mental health patients which in turn results in limited access to the appropriate treatment.

World Wars I and II played a great role in creating awareness of mental health disorders among the federal government and the American public. Researchers sought to find out the impact of wars on individuals, particularly the military personnel. The experience of war and threats of terrorist attacks causes stress in people (Robins & Regier, 2008).

The federal government came to the realization that the wars had significant emotional and mental impacts due to anxiety, exhaustion, and fear. The public were also affected and psychiatrists helped them in handling mental disorders. The use of psychotherapy became widely known and soon after the WWII, social workers took center stage in dealing with mental disorders (Robins & Regier, 2008).

Treatments of mental health disorders have in the past presented significant challenges. However, contrary to widely held assumptions, mental disorders can now be diagnosed and treated as effectively as physical disorders. Many factors have contributed to the persistence of erroneous assumptions about the treatment of mental illness.

The general belief that mental disorders cannot be treated has been one of the erroneous assumptions. Many people with mental illness are segregated from the society and this worsens the treatment efforts. The belief that all symptoms of mental illnesses should be visible has also impeded the treatment of mental disorders (Robins & Regier, 2008).

Many families in the US have made efforts to avoid depletion of personal assets which can result from lengthy periods of long term care. They have sheltered their assets in trusts, transferred assets to family members and use other legal methods to ensure eligibility for Medicaid support of long term care expenses. These approaches can be justified since personal property will be free from seizures due to unpaid claims (Sultz, & Young, 2005).

Those with good income can pay for their long term care as well as those of their family members. Given the need for long term care, Americans are seeking eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare although Medicare does not provide long term care (Swartz, 2007). Medicaid, which covers long term care, is given depending on one’s income levels. The target group is the poor who cannot afford to pay on their own.

The essay has discussed some of the factors that cause many families not to be keen on anticipating the cost of long term care especially for the elderly and what implications it has on employers of those who care for their family members.

The essay has also analyzed the factors that impede access of mental health services in the US and how WWI and WWII helped in creating awareness of this disorder among the federal government and the public. A discussion of the erroneous assumptions about the treatment of mental illness has been presented. It has further presented a personal opinion of the various methods used to ensure eligibility for Medicaid support of long term care expenses.

References

Robins, L. N. & Regier, D. A. (2008). Mental disorders in America: creating awareness. McGraw-Hill Plc

Sultz, H. A. & Young, K. M. (2005). Health Care USA understanding its organization and delivery (6th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning

Swartz, K. (2007). Reinsuring health: why more middle-class people are uninsured and what government can do. Russell Sage Foundation New York: The Free Press

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