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"I gave a lively, tiny woman a ride to orientation back in 2013, never realizing that we would become best friends. Timebankers watched with shock and alarm as our healthcare and social systems chewed her up and spit her out, forcing her eventually into a nursing home at age 54. I made it a personal mission to get her the help she needed to live in the community, the timebanker’s way. After intensive assistance from the timebank and a court hearing, we proudly escorted her out of the nursing home and into a new apartment last December. Her court case set precedent for hundreds of others to escape premature long-term care! I can honestly say that without the timebank’s involvement, she would not be alive today. She now chairs our Member Care Team and hosts monthly potlucks in her apartment building, making new friends and living independently—no, actually, interdependently!" - Stacey Jacobsohn @ Time Initiative of Maine http://ow.ly/gCHn309LmDA . #timebankingis #community #50storiesin50days #timebanks #story #timeasmoney #care
Reflection by Edgar Cahn
This story documents what TimeBanking can do to address the social determinants of health. But how do we get that knowledge used?
According to the Congressional Budget Office, informal care represents 55% of the care that enables older residents to remain in community. The CBO values that at $252 billion dollars. And that estimate is way too low. The AARP estimates the informal care is 80% of the care seniors receive to remain at home. And the AARP values that care at $450 billion dollars.
Each and every day for the next 17 years, 10,000 baby boomers are passing 65. And boomers have higher rates of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. The average cost of just a semi-private room in a nursing home is $6,844 per month. Seniors and their families dread institutional care. They try to remain at home. That’s why systems of informal care are so critical.
Since we know what actually works to enable elderly persons to avoid institutionalization, why are we not requiring Medicare, Medicaid, and State Plans on Aging to provide for an expansion of informal care? How do we extend the health professions’ scope of their duty to provide an expanded version of minimally competent care? In one health center in England, a physician actually prescribes TimeBanking. He includes earning and spending Time Credits in the regimen he has prescribed for patients affected by depression, obesity, and other conditions.
If we formally classify social isolation as a recognized “high risk factor,” might physicians follow that example? Might that designation provide an incentive for health care systems to invest in TimeBanking? ArchCare, the medical care system operated by the Arch Diocese of New York operates a TimeBank. The nurses and social workers in that system make the referrals. Over 3,000 members in their TimeBank have generated over 58,000 hours of mutual help and support.
That’s what the Silver Tsunami might bring — both to health care and to all our communities.