What is Home Care Service
Home Care Service for Elders Without Children
HAVING children was never on Francine Tint’s to-do list. A painter of large abstract canvases, Ms. Tint never felt a biological imperative to reproduce or pass on her name to future generations.
“My paintings are my children,” said Ms. Tint, who is “over 65,” and whose work has been featured in galleries and museums across the country. But though she was always clear on her decision, in the back of her brain one thing slightly nagged at her: Without offspring, on whom could she rely in her old age for home care?
“People don’t have children to take care of them later on in life,” said Ms. Tint, who is divorced and lives in Greenwich Village. “It’s not a reason to have children. They may come for a second on your deathbed, and that’s it. But of course, I worry.”
Ms. Tint’s situation is one that more and more elderly people will face over the next few decades as fewer women choose to have children. According to an August 2013 report from AARP, 11.6 percent of women ages 80 to 84 were childless in 2010. By 2030, the number will reach 16 percent. What’s more, in 2010, the caregiver support ratio was more than seven potential home care service caregivers for every person over 80 years old. By 2030, that ratio of home care givers is projected to decline to four to one. By 2050, it’s expected to fall to three to one.
Unlike China, whose Law of Protection of Rights and Interests of Elderly People requires children of parents older than 60 to visit their parents “often” and tend to their financial and spiritual needs, the United States has no such law.
The trend means that “there are going to be far fewer of the traditional home care caregivers,” said Donald Redfoot, a co-author of the study and a senior policy adviser with the AARP Public Policy Institute in Washington. “It raises the question: Then who?”
“Many people are extending the notion of family itself, to nieces and nephews, cousins and so on,” he continued. “But it’s also expanding to ‘pseudo kin’ of friends and neighbors. We see this in the L.G.B.T. community, many of whom have been alienated from their families.”
Not only does it raise questions of who will care for them, it also brings up issues of housing and home care arrangements, estate planning and whom to put in charge of financial affairs.
This is something Batya Lewton, 82, a former teacher and librarian in New York who never married and has no children, has been contemplating. “You have to think in advance; you can’t assume that people are going to know what you want done for yourself, or how you want to be taken care of, whether you want to stay in your home or not,” she said. “It’s important that people who you care about and who care about you know exactly what you want.”
About eight years ago, Ms. Lewton appointed two friends who live in her building to oversee her future. Both have power of attorney and are executors of her will. She has filed important papers in clearly marked boxes, and also given explicit instructions on where she would like to be buried, what she wants engraved on her headstone and how the funeral should proceed. (She did not, however, prepay the event. “I’m superstitious,” she said.)……
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