Retirement Planning Should Begin NOW

Everyone needs to plan for retirement, but very few of us seriously consider it until it’s too late.  Many workers are mistaken in thinking that they will need less than two-thirds their annual income in retirement.  So it’s not that surprising that a recent survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute  found that 29% of workers report they have less than $1000 in savings, and 56% says they have less than $25,000 in savings and investments.  It may seem strange to say that retirement will take many people by surprise, but it will.  Our current economy, and failing to plan for retirement early in life, explains why 44% of boomers lack confidence in being able to retire at the traditional age of 65.

Thankfully, there are excellent companies like Aviva whose professionals offer a broad array of retirement products and who advise workers not only on the best way to plan for retirement at every stage of their life, but also how to allocate their savings in a manner that will allow them the best use of their money when they need it.  This means not only investing appropriately, but also being aware of other important factors, such as knowing the right kinds of insurance to purchase that can ultimately help them defray the costs associated with growing older.  For example, health insurance and long term care insurance should be viewed as essential investments, as they will pay for the costs of a variety of healthcare services that they will likely need as they age.  This will leave more of our money available for travelling, a new home or car, going out to dinner, entertaining friends, etc.

Aviva can also help avoid some of the many pitfalls of retirement planning and remind workers of the importance of planning for their healthcare expenses.  If Retirement Community living is a chosen option, then living in those Communities that offer on-site physician care is one important way to help maintain the best health possible and thereby reduce healthcare spending.

Workers must be aware that they may spend 20 or more years in retirement, and so a thoughtful approach to financing these ‘golden years’ is important.  Consulting a retirement professional is an important step in guiding workers through this final and potentially most fulfilling stage in their lives.

A Physician in Every Home

Everybody knows that Bill Gates was crazy when he dreamed 35 years ago, “A computer in every home.” He was completely nuts, right?  Not possible, can’t be done, etc.  Yeah right…

But now how about, “A physician in every home.”  Crazy, not possible, can’t be done, right?

But I say, not only a physician in every home, but an entire healthcare team –  nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants, social workers, radiology, lab, EKG, all led by an active and engaged physician, IN EVERY HOME!

Is this just “pie in the sky”, wishful thinking, or worse…?

No to all of the above.  This can be done…NOW!  With the resources we currently have.  And it doesn’t depend on Medicare or insurance companies changing the way they reimburse (now THAT’S wishful thinking!).  And it doesn’t depend on some type of wild and ‘far out’ technology that hasn’t been invented yet.

What’s required is that we simply change our thinking.   We just “rearrange” the way we use our current resources, open our minds, and augment our business model to finally begin doing what we’ve always just assumed was impossible:  make our HOMES, not the doctor’s office, the primary site of healthcare delivery.  This is NOT IMPOSSIBLE!

We need to stop viewing ourselves as victims of a dysfunctional healthcare system, and we do this by taking control of healthcare delivery in our communities.

If we rearrange the way we use our existing resources even while keeping our existing system of reimbursement, we can bring an entire healthcare team to every home, apartment, and trailer.

All we have to do is change our thinking!

 

White Paper – Transcript of interview with Kevin Wiliams, president of SeniorMarketing.com

I was recently interviewed by Kevin Williams, the President of SeniorMarketing.com.  Kevin was very interested in the House Calls unique model for bringing Primary Care Physicians profitably to Retirement Communities.  We had an informal discussion about the value of a service that will increase the lifetime value of residents and also promises to reduce health related attrition rates.

Click on the link below to read a transcript of our discussion.

Senior Marketing Interview

To learn more about Kevin and his very creative and insightful approach to senior marketing, please visit:  www.SeniorMarketing.com

A Healthcare Team Without Doctors…Really???

There are 624,434 U.S. physicians (AHRQ, 2010), but only 0.6% of them would ever consider entering an Assisted Living Community (ALC) to provide on-site care.  There are more than 36,000 ALCs in the US caring for over 1 million fragile older adults (ALFA 2011), but you are literally more likely to be struck by lightning than to ever see a doctor walk through the doors of any of these communities!

The first ALC began in 1981 to care for the Founder’s mother who was in her early 60s (The History of Assisted Living, www.assistedlivinghistory.com).  These Communities were originally promoted to provide a supportive, primarily non-medical living environment to bridge the gap between independent living and the nursing home.  But the landscape for ALCs has dramatically changed since their inception.

The average age of an ALC resident is now 87 years (Harris-Wallace et al, 2011, Seniors Housing & Care Journal).  Thirty-seven percent of residents receive assistance with 3 or more activities of daily living (NCAL 2012), greater than half of the residents have 2 or more chronic medical conditions and are taking multiple medications having a variety of potential side effects, and 42% have at least some degree of memory impairment or dementia (NCAL 2012).

ALCs are no longer predominantly non-medical communities.  They have high acuity residents, and this will only intensify in the future due to a very competitive market as well as resident expectations to age in place and experience the progression of chronic medical conditions in one setting that provides ongoing care and monitoring.

In other words, times have changed.  But the problem is…our thinking hasn’t!  Our thinking is stuck back in the 1980s and hasn’t kept pace with the changing demands and expectations residents impose on ALCs.  The healthcare team that provides medical oversight of residents in ALCs is led either by non-medically trained administrators or by nurses with additional support from aides and assistants.  But there is a glaring omission:  WHERE ARE THE DOCTORS???

Just as in the 1980s, we keep hauling our residents off-site all over town to a variety of doctor’s offices just to get their basic primary care needs met.  But this isn’t the 1980s any longer!  These residents are 20 years older, much more fragile on average, and all these off-site trips are incredibly stressful not only on the residents but also their families as well as the ALCs and their employees.  We can and must do better!

It is no longer appropriate to be thinking as we did in the 1980s and have predominantly off-site physician care.  And it is no longer acceptable to have the supervisory medical team not include a fully engaged physician who provides on-site care.

ALCs and physicians MUST come together and meet the demand of caring for high acuity patients in the community setting.  The direction of modern healthcare delivery is TOWARD THE COMMUNITY to proactively keep people as healthy as possible at home and AWAY FROM HIGH COST INSTITUTIONS that only care for patients reactively after they become ill.  This reversal in the direction of healthcare delivery falls right in the laps of ALCs, and the pressure to care for higher acuity residents will therefore only increase.  This also means that on-site care by physicians offered to ALL residents should no longer be a luxury but MUST be a REALITY.

There are a few innovative healthcare models now available that encourage ALCs and physicians to each put “skin in the game” and come together as PARTNERS (http://housecalls-llc.com/articles/physicians-must-partner-with-retirement-communities-and-heres-why).  To meet the new demands that confront this partnership is surprisingly easy and not intimidating and can happen overnight.  The biggest obstacle is in our thinking:  WE MUST THINK DIFFERENTLY (http://housecalls-llc.com/articles/think-the-same-stay-the-same-think-differently-and-thrive/).

If we think differently…if we bring physicians and ALCs together as partners, we will discover that EVERYBODY  WINS!