Ten thousand Americans are turning 65 every day.
One in five Americans will be 65 or older by the year 2030.
Alzheimer’s disease strikes someone every 67 seconds.
Children of aging parents are often faced with daunting decisions on how to take care of loved ones if they cannot take care of themselves. Assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are expensive alternatives, and horror stories abound about the lack of care the elderly receive in these institutions.
Home health care is another option but it can be stressful, overwhelming and exhausting for the caregiver.
According to the New York Times, home health care is the fastest growing major job category in the country, but it is emotionally and personally demanding, and one of the worst paid. Even with a 150% increase in home care workers in the last decade, to nearly 2.3 million, the industry cannot keep pace. Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of people entitled to Medicaid-funded home care are on waiting lists.
Julia LaPlount has first-hand knowledge of home health care. She was a caregiver for her mother for three years.
“She had a massive stroke,” LaPlount said. “There wasn’t much she could do. All I knew was that I didn’t want her to die in a nursing home, so I brought her to my house.”
For 38 years, LaPlount, 74, worked for the Rancho Research Institute, a 501(c)(3) research, education and rehabilitation center located in Downey. On her lunch hours and breaks, she would get the occupational therapists to show her how to get her mom moving. With the assistance of her husband, LaPlount was able to care for her mother, but she realized she needed more help.
“I never knew who the agency was going to send and we weren’t told,” she said. “I could tell sometimes that my mom wasn’t taken care of.”
After she retired last year, LaPlount had time to reflect on the wealth of knowledge she had acquired on senior health care. She decided to combine her years of research and education with what she knew about caregiving and open Senior Helpers-Long Beach.
“By the time seniors need care, they can’t make the decision of what to do,” she said. “If seniors can age at home, they are healthier. It saves everyone money. They are happier.”
LaPlount started the business with her daughter Jennifer Rodrigues (the operations manager) and granddaughter Janna LaPlount. All have had experience with caregiving.
LaPlount said her goal is to train 50 caregivers to work in the Long Beach area. She said that she wants the employees to feel more like an extended part of the families they work for. Employees will be paid above minimum wage and be offered a retirement plan.
“The education part is so important, not just for caregivers, but for families,” she said. “I want to make a better life, not only for the seniors, but for the caregivers.”
Senior Helpers is hiring caregivers. It can be reached at 562-726-1813. It is at 3450 E. Spring St., Suite 112. For more information about jobs, contact Jennifer Rodrigues at email@example.com or visit the website at seniorhelpers.com/ca/long-beach.com.