Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gray Lists provide home health care for elderly


Jane Gross has a story in The New York Times, March 1, 2007, "New Options (and Risks) in Home Care for Elderly" on p A1. She has written about critical problems in eldercare before, as in a Dec 30 2006 blog entry of mine at this link.

She indicates that in-home care from an agency that is fully bonded can cost as much as $150000 a year for two parents in New York City. So many people have been going to a "gray market", informally run, of relatively unscreened women.

Many "gray market" providers are run by small companies or especially by churches, with good intention. Indeed, they seem to fit into the president's idea of privatized "faith based" social services. In many cases, a live-in home health aide can be provided during a long period of recuperation from surgery, or for indefinite custodial care. Often such care is arranged by adult children living and working in other cities, and sometimes these adult children may be single and have relatively little personal experience with family socialization. Home health providers have had to become stricter about immigration status and green cards, in the post 9/11 world, because of legal and political pressures related to security and illegal immigration. It would seem plausible that an adult child could get into trouble for hiring an illegal worker to provide care for parents.

With increasing life-spans and the ability to provide life-extending medical care, questions could come up about the responsibilities of adult children, especially those without families of their own. I have an extended discussion of filial responsibility here.

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