ComForCare Home Care Serving Somerset & Northern Middlesex Countries

Archive for September, 2020

Remembering Maggie Kuhn, Founder of the Gray Panthers

Monday , September 21 , 2020

Remembering Maggie Kuhn, Founder of the Gray Panthers

Fifty years ago, Maggie Kuhn founded the Gray Panthers, a radical movement to encourage activism among America’s older population. 

 

Inspired by the political environment at the time, such as Vietnam War protests and racial equality demonstrations, Kuhn believed that issues affecting older people should also be on the radar. More than anything, she wanted to destroy every single stereotype surrounding older adults – especially older women. 

 

Please keep reading to learn more about Maggie and the movement she started and find out where the Gray Panthers are today. 

 

Who was Maggie Kuhn? 

 

Maggie Kuhn was born in 1905 to parents who grew up in the segregated South. Determined to give their daughter a different life, they raised Maggie in the North, where she graduated college and organized a chapter of the League of Women Voters. 

 

Throughout her adult life, Maggie worked towards change and demonstrated a powerful interest in social reform on many fronts. 

 

In 1970, at just 65 years old, Maggie was forced into retirement. At the time, this wasn’t out of the ordinary. Senior citizens were expected to fade into the background and disappear from everyday life. Maggie, however, was infuriated. 

 

Even more irksome? Her parting gift was a sewing machine. 

 

“Old age is not a disease. [Old age] is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.”

 

Sexism and ageism were two things this petite, gray-haired lady couldn’t stand for. Maggie took it upon herself to make sure other older adults didn’t face the same fate as her. 

 

With the help of a few other seniors forced out of the workplace, Kuhn quickly founded the “Consultation of Older and Younger Adults for Social Change,” dubbed the “Gray Panthers” by the press. The group was “lively, quick-witted, controversial and action-oriented.” 

 

Maggie’s legacy was so impactful that political activist Ralph Nader once called her retirement “the most significant retirement in modern American history.”

 

Conjuring the Power of Older Adults

 

The Gray Panthers identified as a militant, though nonviolent group and their tactics included public protests, political lobbying, and grassroots organizing. They forced their way into the diplomatic sphere and demanded action. 

 

According to the AARP, in their first full year of operation, the Gray Panthers stormed the White House and requested access to the presidential conference on aging. Kuhn even called out President Gerald Ford when she found his remarks “patronizing.” 

 

Throughout the years, the organization successfully lobbied against mandatory retirement age, pushed for nursing home reform and creation of a government-subsidized single-payer national health insurance program, fought for accessibility in mass transportation and against proposed cuts to Social Security, and much more. 

 

Most of all, Kuhn fought against the rampant ageism in America – especially the negative stereotypes about older adults in the media. The Panthers routinely monitored how seniors were portrayed on television and rallied against networks that insisted upon depicting them as “dependent, powerless, wrinkled babies.” 

 

The Gray Panthers Today

 

Today, it seems as though the Panthers have been largely forgotten. In part, that can be attributed to Kuhn’s death in 1995. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Maggie was “such a charismatic leader that once she died, the organization began to drift.” 

 

But despite their challenges since Kuhn’s death, the Gray Panther’s mission continues to this day. With a series of local advocacy networks throughout the United States, the group fights ageism and other social justice issues every day.

 

Interested in helping? You can contact the NYC chapter here or visit the National Council of Gray Panthers Networks on Facebook.

Posted in: Aging

Leave a Comment (0) →
Is In-home Care the Better Choice Post Covid-19?

Tuesday , September 15 , 2020

Is In-home Care the Better Choice Post Covid-19?

According to the California Healthcare Foundation, more than 40% of Covid-19 fatalities so far were nursing home residents or workers. And that number is true across the nation – not just in the Golden State.

Shocked? You shouldn’t be. Despite strict regulations, nursing homes have long struggled with infection control.

The same organization states that “nursing homes are hot spots because they combine numerous risk factors for transmission: congregate living, a mostly elderly population with underlying health conditions, and inadequate staffing, PPE, and infection control for an emergency.”

And the public has taken notice. Healthcare consulting firm Transcend Strategy Group recently surveyed 1,000 family healthcare decision-makers across the country and found that two-thirds of respondents say they plan to use in-home care rather than facility-based care in the future.

Among those surveyed, 65% said Covid-19 has changed their opinions about how to best care for older adults, while 68% said they don’t believe that quality care can be provided in congregate settings.

We’ve put together a brief overview of in-home care, so you can make your own decision. Keep reading to learn more:

Aging in Place 

Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

There is no time this is truer, perhaps, than as we enter old age. According to the AARP, three out of four adults say they want to age in place, even if they need help with day-to-day activities.

Many seniors fear dying alone in a nursing home, surrounded by people they don’t know. When the time comes, they’d prefer to be at home, in an environment that feels safe and in the company of those they love.

The Benefits of In-Home Care 

Home care can provide a variety of benefits for older adults who choose to age in place. Among the most important advantages is assistance with activities of daily living, including help with cooking, cleaning, and even bathing. Here are some other pluses you may be unaware of:

  • It may seem obvious, but in-home care allows seniors the opportunity to age in place among their friends, family, and those they care about most. This can directly contribute to better mental and physical health as they age.
  • Older adults who age in place feel a greater sense of freedom and the independence to live life on their own terms.
  • In-home care providers can perform a wide variety of services, from help with daily activities to round-the-clock care.
  • Home care professionals can provide family caregivers with peace of mind that their loved one is safe and secure while they go to work or tend to other duties.
  • Older adults who have had surgery or have been hospitalized for an illness face a lesser risk of falls when recovering at home. Home care can also reduce the risk of hospital readmission.
  • If your older loved one has specific medical needs, in-home nurses can provide skilled treatment, including wound care, intravenous infusions, and tracheostomy management.
  • With in-home care and the rise of wearable technology, older adults can now receive continuous monitoring from the comfort of their own homes.
  • Much more.

Of course, there are cases where an assisted living facility is the only option – and there are pros and cons to both in-home care and living in a nursing home. One of the biggest considerations should be the health needs of your older loved one. Remember to involve them in the decision-making process and do your research.

Posted in: Home Care

Leave a Comment (0) →