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National scorecard ranks Oregon 4th in the nation for services and supports to seniors and people with disabilities - 06/13/17

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE:
12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Clackamas, Oregon -- Oregon nationally ranks 4th when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents, family caregivers and people with disabilities, according to a new national report. "Picking Up the Pace of Change: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports" from AARP ranks the 50 states and DC. It is the third in a series of scorecards from AARP with the Commonwealth Fund and the SCAN Foundation. Oregon has moved down from third in the last report in 2014.

"While Oregon excels in many areas, this Scorecard shows we have much more to do," said Jerry Cohen, AARP Oregon State Director. The scorecard looks at 25 specific indicators in 5 key dimensions: affordability and access; choice of setting and provider; quality of life and quality of care; support for family caregivers; and, effective transitions between nursing homes, hospitals and homes. Long-term care (also called long-term services and supports) is a diverse set of services designed to help older people and those with disabilities; services can be provided in a person's home, in a community setting such as an adult day center, or in a group residential facility like a nursing home.

In Oregon Family Caregiving Scores High, Affordability and Access Much Lower

"The vast majority of Oregonians want to live independently, at home or home-like settings, as they age--most with the help of unpaid family caregivers," says Cohen.

In less than 10 years, Boomers will begin to turn 80, placing new expectations and demands on a still imperfect long-term care system. Further, this generation will have far fewer potential family caregivers to provide unpaid help.

Currently, unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older Oregonians and people with disabilities. More than 470,000 Oregonians help loved ones stay at home providing assistance with bathing and dressing, transportation, finances, complex medical tasks like wound care and more. The value of this unpaid care totals about $5.8 billion annually.

"Family caregivers take on big responsibilities," explains Cohen. "Many juggle full-time jobs with their caregiving duties; others provide 24/7 care for their loved ones. These family caregivers save taxpayers money by keeping their loved ones out of costly care facilities -- most often paid for by Medicaid. They have earned some basic support."

AARP Oregon supports workplace flexibility to support family caregivers who hold down jobs while providing care for loved ones. "Nearly everyone needs paid family or medical leave at some point in their lives, whether it's to care for a new child, an aging parent, or themselves," stated Oregon State Representative Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland). "The practical reality is that many workers, struggling to make ends meet from paycheck to paycheck, simply cannot afford to take unpaid leave. I introduced HB 3087, to create a Family and Medical Leave Insurance program in Oregon because, like AARP, I believe family caregivers should not have to choose between taking care of mom or dad, or losing a paycheck, or even risk losing their job."

MEDICAID and the Threat of cuts by Congress

"Oregon has made consistently improved long-term services and supports, as highlighted in this Scorecard. But, proposals in Congress under the American Health Care Act, passed by the House and now in the Senate, would drastically cut federal funding for Oregon's Medicaid long-term care program and threaten these advancements, likely resulting in our most vulnerable citizens losing the lifesaving supports that they count on," says Cohen.

The single strongest predictor of a state's long-term care system is the reach of its Medicaid long-term care safety net. That's why AARP has fought to expand services provided at home and in the community, by shifting funds away from more expensive nursing home care.

While Oregon does rank 5th in the percentage of Medicaid dollars used to support care provided at home and in the community--the care setting that most Oregonians prefer--the Scorecard spotlights areas that call for improvement, including affordability and access, and quality of life and quality of care.

Specifically:
* Percent of home health patients with a hospital admission;
* Percent of long-stay nursing home residents who are receiving an antipsychotic medication;
* Median annual cost of care, either in nursing homes or home care, as a percentage of median household income, age 65+

"This Scorecard gives us a snapshot of how well Oregon serves our older residents, those with disabilities, and family caregivers--and shows us where we must sharpen our focus to better assist hardworking Oregonians," concludes Cohen. "Now is the time for policymakers to act."


The full state Scorecard, along with an interactive map of state rankings and information, is available at www.longtermscorecard.org.

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About AARP: AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members nationally and more than 500,000 in Oregon, and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

AARP volunteers launch a summer of "Neighborwalks" - local Saturday activity free and open to the public - 06/06/17

There is no better way to enjoy the community and learn about Eugene/Springfield neighborhoods than getting out and walking with old friends and new ones. To help get Lane County moving, AARP Oregon volunteers in collaboration with community partners, have designed a series of intergenerational walks that start this Saturday.

"Our vision is to get more people walking every day for health, environment, and community," said Michele Scheib, of Eugene, a member of the AARP Oregon Executive Council and local volunteer.

Walks will take place in neighborhoods around Eugene and Springfield. Each walk is developed and guided by AARP volunteer leaders with support from community partners.

Each walk has a distinct theme and organizers hope to get as many people to participate as possible.

Participants who attend all or most of the nine NeighborWalks will receive a surprise giveaway from AARP Oregon. Walkers can collect the stamps at each walk and get bonus stamps at any of the 2017 Sunday Streets events this year, which will take place July 30 and Sept. 17.

NeighborWalks is a community walking program created by AARP Oregon. SmartTrips Eugene, Safe Routes to School and the Lane Transportation District's Point-to-Point program are working together with AARP to bring the program to Lane County. "We have great volunteers and community partners who are all working together to make these great experiences," said Sandy Coffin of Springfield, another member of the AARP Oregon Executive Council and a local volunteer.

There is no cost to join the walk!



2017 AARP NeighborWalks Lane County Schedule


June 10, 10 a.m., 20x21EUG Mural Project -- NeighborWalks Kick-off

Meet at Home2Suites, 102 W 11th Ave, Eugene

Join us for a walk through Eugene's downtown and explore the murals, including the 20x21EUG Mural Project, that will bring 20 international murals to the city's center in time for the track and field World Championships in 2021.


June 24, 10 a.m., Come and See What's Around the Bend!

Meet in the lobby at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, 3333 RiverBend Drive

Start with a stroll through the sculpture garden and enjoy scenic meadow and river views in and around the hospital grounds.


July 22, 10 a.m., Community & Sustainability -- Friendly Neighborhood

Meet at Friendly Market, corner of Friendly & 27th, Eugene

Learn how the friendly area neighbors have collaborated to create projects that support community and sustainability. From fruit tree gleaning to tool sharing and more!


Aug. 12, 10 a.m. Walk with the Mayor -- Q Street Business District

Meet by Jack-in-the-Box at Q Street & Pioneer Parkway

Join Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg as she highlights what makes her Springfield neighborhood a great place for people of all ages.


Aug. 29, 6 -- 7:30 p.m., Green Resiliency in the River Road Community

Meet at Rosetta Place Park on Evergreen Drive, Eugene

Join Smarttrips for a walk highlighting permaculture and resiliency efforts in the community and explore what makes River Road a great place to live.


Sept. 12, 10 a.m., Downtown Springfield Murals and History

Meet in front of Simpson Mural at 5th & Main

Explore the downtown murals and learn the history of the Washburne Historic District neighborhood, including the Wildish Theater and the city's center.


Sept. 24, 1 p.m., Jefferson Westside

Meet at Charnel Mulligan Park

Discover Jefferson Westside. Learn about "missing middle housing" and meander through this historic neighborhood.


Saturday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m. The Whiteaker: Past, Present & Future

Meet at New Day Bakery, 449 Blair Blvd, Eugene

Learn about this historic neighborhood in Eugene. What social movements create this unique place?