ERIC Number: ED320058
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987
Till Death Do Us Part: Caregiving Wives of Severely Disabled Husbands.
Colman, Vanda; And Others
This "gray paper" asserts that the physical, emotional, and financial needs of unpaid caregivers--usually women--have been largely ignored in our national health care policy regarding care for the severely disabled elderly. It discusses the problem of the caregiving role for wives of severely incapacitated husbands, noting that the present health care delivery system is inadequate to address and solve the problems of the caregiving wife for the following reasons: (1) Medicare, the largest government health care program for the elderly, focuses almost exclusively on "acute" care, which in practice means hospital care; (2) Medicaid allocates 40 per cent of its nationwide budget to nursing home care, but a couple must impoverish themselves to qualify the disabled spouse for Medicaid coverage; and (3) other sources of assistance, such as Social Services (Title XX of the Social Security Act), private insurance plans, private nursing agencies, adult day care, or mutual support groups, are either too expensive or too limited to address caregivers' needs. The paper therefore provides a set of strategies to alleviate the burdens of caregiving wives, in view of the inadequacy of our present health care system. Six basic principles affirming the rights and needs of caregivers are outlined, and a strategy for legislative and regulative reform at the federal and state levels is presented. Footnotes are included. (TE)
Descriptors: Adult Day Care, Alzheimers Disease, Family Caregivers, Federal Programs, Females, Frail Elderly, Health Care Costs, Health Insurance, Health Services, Home Health Aides, Long Term Care, Personal Care Homes, Severe Disabilities, Social Services, Spouses
Older Women's League, 730 Eleventh Street, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20001.
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Older Women's League, Washington, DC.