When it comes to caring for the elderly or the disabled or chronically ill over an extended period of time, American citizens are largely on their own.
Medicare, which typically covers adults over 65, does not cover home care. Long-term care policies in the private market come with expensive premiums – if individuals are not first rejected for a pre-existing condition. And Medicaid comes with strict eligibility requirements, letting most people use their savings or turn to family members for help.
According to a Washington legislative report, nearly 830,000 people provide some form of unpaid care for their family members, meeting more than 80% of the state’s long-term care needs.
The Seattle Times seeks to hear from people who provide unpaid care for a family member or loved one who is struggling in daily life. This care can include anything from eating, dressing, or bathing another person to helping someone with medication, transportation, or any other daily task.
Did your relative or loved one have difficulty taking care of themselves? Have you used home help? Did you pay for adult day center services or equipment like a wheelchair or ramp? Have you had to give up your free time, change jobs or move to take care of a loved one? Does your loved one have a fixed income or have you used your own savings to care for them?
We would love to hear from you.