A resource for elders, their families and practitioners in and out of the elder care arena.
Iris Bikel, Esq. and Peter Gordon, NYC Co-Chapter Leaders
1. Foster Understanding and Appreciation of Elders in Society.
2. Establish Standards and a Profession for Caregiving.
5. Eliminate Elder Abuse and Neglect.
1. Foster Understanding and Appreciation of Elders in Society: People aged 65 or older in the U.S. numbered nearly 40 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available), or about one in every eight Americans. In the next 20 years, this number is expected to grow to well over 70 million. By counts alone, older Americans are already a force and will continue to be so.
Our responsibility and our challenge is to learn about elders and their impact on the rest of society. In many parts of the world elders are revered, respected and elevated to high levels of authority. Often, they are viewed as mentors and “wisdomkeepers”. Orion seeks to understand the role of elders in the U.S. today (mirroring ourselves and parents as examples), acknowledge the stresses this may bring upon family members and educate others on why we should care about America’s seniors.
2. Establish Standards and a Profession for Caregiving: Orion is committed to improving and empowering the lives of individuals who earn their living in the caregiving profession. Caregivers are special people who show a deep compassion and ability to tend to others’ basic living needs. People who work in nursing homes, assisted living communities and private homes (such as health care aides, etc.) deserve the same support and respect as those working in other professions. We must care for and educate those who care for our families.
Access to formalized training and education plus adequate pay and benefits should be applied universally and be the norm. We work with resource providers to help build their infrastructures and enable their ability to attract, motivate and strengthen caregiver talent. We also support initiatives and educate the community at large on the criticality of this mission due to the rapid expansion of the elder population.
3. Attract Youth to the Elder Care Industry: Attracting and keeping talent of all ages in the elder care industry is already an imminent challenge. Orion looks to partner with educational institutions, the business community, fellow associates in the senior industry and government to help young people better understand the elderly. Specifically: who elders are, what elders need and ways young people might contribute to meeting their needs now and in the future. Younger professionals are needed in the talent pipeline as the aging community exponentially increases.
At the same time, Orion members work with elder care resource providers to build their organizations and strengthen their ability to provide meaningful work experiences. While this benefits people of all ages, Orion is particularly focused on what will attract, motivate and retain those in the early stages of their education and careers.
4. Streamline the Navigation and Selection of Appropriate Elder Care Services: The myriad of services available to elders, and settings in which they may be delivered, is often overwhelming and confusing, even for the most seasoned professionals. Depending on the situation a person finds him/herself in, there could be a number of entry points and considerations for proceeding within the “care system”. Simply figuring out who or where one can go to for guidance on appropriate services and care can be stressful and time consuming.
Orion looks to streamline communications and expedite people getting the appropriate information and care they need. We do this by working closely with targeted senior/elder resource providers in different businesses who can act as “navigators”. Specifically, we seek to create awareness, encourage dialog and foster collaboration among these providers to guide those in need in the right direction. Our ultimate goal is to create a network of knowledgeable and responsive “someones” for people to go to ensure appropriate resources are available and the right action is taken at the right time.
5. Eliminate Elder Abuse and Neglect: Orion seeks ways to help people learn what abuse “looks like” (physical, emotional, financial) and what can be done about it. We encourage taking action when an elder feels ignored. Further, Orion supports ways to increase the quality of care giving (at both the individual and facility/community level) to reduce the potential of abuse or neglect. We look to educate, communicate and create pathways to eradicate abuse and neglect. Orion stands firm on “zero tolerance” for elder abuse.
View our web site at www.orionrg.org
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Iris Bikel, Esq.
309 West 86th Street, Unit 6B
New York, NY 10024