A flash mob of “Dancing Grandmas” on Tuesday took over Times Square, kicking off a nationwide tour and contest to help those caring for aging parents and loved ones.
Dancers dressed as seniors – complete with grey wigs and canes – surprised the crowd with an “impromptu” waltz, then threw off their costumes to start swing dancing.
The event launched a national awareness campaign to educate Americans about planning for long-term care. More than 70% of those over 65 will require some form of long-term care as they age, such as extended nursing home stays, assisted living, home health care, and more. Yet many of these services are not fully covered by traditional insurance or Medicare.
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In a similar event, TD Bank, America’s leading bank, hosted a flash mob recently in Times Square to inspire consumers to get a free “checking checkup.” (Read: TD Bank’s Dancing Doctors Educate Consumers)
“As our population gets older and lives longer, three out of every four of us will need more than regular health care,” said elder care expert and author Dr. Marion Somers, who is organizing the campaign with non-profit organization 3in4 Need More.
Dr. Marion spoke from her souped-up, 50s-era Greyhound bus – parked in the middle of Times Square’s pedestrian walkway. “These long-term care needs can sneak up on us as quickly as a flash mob – which is why it’s so important for Americans to plan ahead.”
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The high costs of long-term care add a financial strain to the physical and emotional toll that caring for an aging loved one already brings. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, average long-term care costs in the US are over $20/hour for home health aides, $200/day for nursing homes, and $3,000/month for assisted living.
To help Americans plan ahead, Dr. Marion’s bus will crisscross the country this summer to talk with seniors and caregivers. Her advice: it’s never too soon to start planning for long-term care needs and costs.
As part of the campaign, Dr. Marion and 3in4 Need More are launching a nationwide “Get Your Life Back” contest to find those struggling to care for their aging loved ones.
The winner will receive an ultimate caregiver makeover valued at $50,000 – including a week’s worth of pampering and relaxation, an in-home safety assessment and overhaul, one-on-one coaching, and high-tech solutions to support a range of caregiving needs. To enter, visit www.3in4NeedMore.com.