Aging in Place in an Uber Economy – Is it Safe. How to Hire 1099 Contractors.

Aging in Place in an Uber Economy – Is it Safe. How to Hire 1099 Contractors. Reprinted from my Huff Post 50 Blog.

Ripped from the headlines –

February 22 – Kalamazoo, Mich. – an Uber taxi driver goes on a killing spree. On the same day in another city, a pedestrian struck by an Uber Driver in Connecticut is pronounced dead at hospital.

aging in place in a 1099 economy

With more and more services coming into the home, hiring in an Uber economy is important. Be careful and do your homework.

November 19 – Lyft faces a wrongful death lawsuit after one of its drivers allegedly struck and killed a Miami motorcyclist.

These are but some of the stories ripped from the headlines and featured on the site Who’s Driving You. Now to be fair, that site is operated by the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) who is protecting their taxi workers while calling into question the background checks given to drivers of their competitors.

Here’s the thing. My fellow boomers and I all say we want to age in place. And over time to be able to do that we are going to be dependent on certain services to help us get around. And we will depend on other services to come to us in our home.

Often the people who service us are contractors for agencies. It’s what experts call the 1099 economy. 1099 contractors can be excellent but often the screening of those workers is far from it.

Consider all of the services cropping up. In my article on Senior Care at, I list some of these.

  • UberASSIST is a new option that will allow riders needing an extra hand to request safe and reliable rides and provide additional assistance to seniors and people with disabilities. Driver-partners are specifically trained by Open Doors Organization to assist riders into vehicles and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers, and scooters.
    The Open Doors Organization partners nationally and internationally with associations, convention & tourism bureaus and corporations to help them better understand and serve their customers with disabilities. Services include focus group research, individualized marketing strategies, creation of training and marketing videos, guidance in ADA compliance, and the organization of workshops and symposia.
  • Instacart is a grocery delivery service that connects you with Personal Shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores.
  • AirbNb-Millions of people including seniors, list their space and book unique accommodations anywhere in the world. My mom has a friend in Philadelphia who still lives in the three-story town home that has been in the family forever. She is only able to live on the first floor because of health reasons. She could use a service like AirbNb to find people to use the other two floors. Likely these will be young adults who can also provide social benefit for a senior. More than half of Airbnb’s hosts are older than 40, and 10 percent of them are older than 60. But just like any other rental, who is doing a background check on the tenants?
  • Honor – While there are a myriad of non-medical home care companies emerging, Honor is following an Uber model, allowing people to use an app on their phone to select, schedule and monitor care from anywhere. Their value proposition is being able to better match a caregiver with a patient.
  • Alfred is a weekly subscription service that handles your grocery shopping, laundry, dry cleaning and house cleaning.
  • TaskRabbit automates your ability to find people to do everyday chores and errands.

I am not an HR expert but clearly HR experts are weighing in on the 1099 economy. And so are the companies that feel threatened by the Uber-type companies.

In a recent associated press article, Uber’s background checks were called into question:

Taxi advocates hit Uber the hardest saying that Uber checks fail because they do not include fingerprinting of would-be drivers. Many law enforcement experts say a fingerprint search is the most comprehensive way to check someone’s background, and taxi regulators typically require one.

To be fair there are plenty of taxi drivers who commit violent crimes.

And I would imagine Uber’s partnerships with The Open Doors Organization helps in the selection of appropriate drivers. Uber’s partnership with AARP attacks the issue from another angle – hiring more boomers and retirees as drivers. I imagine AARP would not enter lightly into something that could have major PR ramifications if things went wrong.

Since there are no consistent hiring practices among these types of services, it may fall on you and me to vet people. Here are some tips.

  • Always ask for, receive and check out references. On Uber you can check your incoming driver’s rating and get a sense of who will be showing up.
  • Ask your friends and neighbors who they would recommend. The best contractors are found by word of mouth.
  • If you’re uncomfortable having a contractor come to your home ask a relative, friend or neighbor to be there with you.
  • Make sure the contractor has their insurance current.
  • Check with the state attorney general’s office and the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the company placing contractors.
  • Does the agency placing contractors, say home health aides, closely supervise the quality of care?
  • Does the contractor provide a written document that states the rights and responsibilities of the client, and explains the company’s privacy policy and code of ethics?
  • Does the agency mandate ongoing training of its employees to continually update their skills?
  • Use local companies whose address you can verify.
  • Avoid unlicensed contractors.
  • If possible, pay by credit card. Otherwise, pay by check. Never pay cash.

I am hoping HR experts weigh in and tell us all how we can become better and safer consumers when dealing with contractors in the 1099 economy.

Brilliant Disguise – Bruce, HB2 and LGBT Elders. Telling Your Health Provider Your Sexual Identity is Important!

LGBTQ-Tell healthcare provider your sexual identity.

Telling your health care provider your sexual identity is important for better care.

Brilliant Disguise – Bruce, HB2 and LGBT Elders – Reprinted from my Huff Post 50 Blog

I recently attended a program sponsored by the Western Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association entitled Conversations about LGBT Older Adults, Families, and Equality, Health, and Community Services.

Days earlier Bruce Springsteen canceled his Greensboro, NC concert in protest of HB2 and that day, the governor was backpedaling on the bill.

Needless to say this program took on added significance against the backdrop.

So imagine, it’s tough enough being LGBTQ (the Q is for questioning I Iearned) but now imagine being an LGBT elder. See we tend to freeze certain segments of the population at a point in time. Just because they grow older didn’t mean they grew straight! No, now we have older people with all of the travails of growing old layered with being out of the mainstream.

According to SAGE:

  • 3 million people in the U.S. 55 and older identify as LGBT.
  • 50% of single LGBT older people believe they will have to work well beyond retirement age compared to 27% of non-LGBT people.
  • 40% of LGBT elders say their support networks have become smaller over time, as compared to 27% of non-LGBT people.
  • 1 in 3 LGBT elders live alone compared to 27% of non-LGBT people.
  • 25% of transgender older adults reports discrimination when seeking housing.
  • 40% of LGBT older people age 60-75 say their healthcare providers don’t know their sexual orientations.

So let’s take that last point – healthcare. There are already access issues to care. What can we do to create inclusive healthcare environments for LGBT people? According to the National LGBT Health Education Center, there are ten things in fact we can do.

  • The board and senior management are actively engaged.
  • Policies reflect the needs of LGBT people.
  • Outreach and engagement efforts include LGBT people in your community.
  • All staff receive training on culturally-affirming care for LGBT people.
  • Processes and forms reflect the diversity of LGBT people and their relationships.
  • Data is collected on the sexual orientation and gender identity of patients.
  • All patients receive routine sexual health histories.
  • Clinical care and services incorporate LGBT health care needs.
  • The physical environment welcomes and includes LGBT people.
  • LGBT staff are recruited and retained.

Coming Out to Your Provider

The National LGBT Health Education Center also publishes a pamphlet on coming out to your provider. There are particular health risks associated with this population – higher smoking rates, increased risk of suicide, increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases. When you come out, a provider can truly tailor a person-centered approach to care and refer you to the right specialists like behavioral health providers.

But not every provider may be equal in their acceptance.

The Other Side of the Coin

In November of 2014, LGBT HealthLink, Missouri’s PROMO, and lawyer Corey Prachniak released the first ever LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights (HBOR). The bill, in both long form and wallet sized versions, outlines the protections and rights LGBT people have in healthcare today.

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association publishes a directory of health professionals advancing LGBT equality. Start there to find a provider.

The Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index showcases providers who meet their Core Four.

Patient Non-Discrimination

a. Patient non-discrimination policy (or patients’ bill of rights) includes the term “sexual orientation” and the term “gender identity”

b. LGBT-inclusive patient non-discrimination policy is communicated to patients in at least two documented ways AND is communicated to staff

Equal Visitation

a. Visitation policy explicitly grants equal visitation to LGBT patients and their visitors

b. Equal visitation policy is communicated to patients in at least two documented ways AND is communicated to staff

Employment Non-Discrimination

a. Employment non-discrimination policy (or equal employment opportunity policy) includes the term “sexual orientation” and the term “gender identity”

b. Employment non-discrimination policy is communicated to the public in at least one documented way

Training in LGBT Patient-Centered Care

a. Staff receive training in LGBT patient-centered care (HRC offers free, expert online training to staff at all levels)

b. All staff involved in patient care services must be informed of the free LGBT training opportunities available through the HEI

I was not surprised at all that one of our local health systems was identified as a leader in LGBT rights. As a patient of the organization, a family caregiver to a mom who receives care there, and as a consultant who has worked for them, the culture permeates person-centered. See there are a lot of providers talking the talk of person-centered health care experience and few walking it.

Educate yourself on who advocates in your court. And beware of those who have in Bruce’s words “A Brilliant Disguise.”

So tell me who I see
When I look in your eyes
Is that you baby
Or just a brilliant disguise

And check out Huff Post’s LGBT Wellness Page to keep on top of these issues.

Use Analytics to Predict Your Place to Age

Carol Marak

Carol Marak

Senior City Guides Can Help – by Carol Marak, Senior

Affordability ranks number one for retiring singles and couples. Even in the Elder Orphan Facebook group, hundreds of individuals over 50 years and over seek a place that’s safe, connected, and affordable. Many in the group are in the same predicament. We enjoy solo living, yet feel the pressures of disconnection and loneliness at times.

But it’s the ability to pay for a home and an enjoyable lifestyle that accentuates the discomfort. We want what we cannot afford, and many members ask, “Why is housing so costly?” It’s a fact; housing cost is the largest expense in household budgets across the board. Medical expense runs second, especially for seniors.

However, alongside affordability, boomers like those in the Facebook group, want to continue working in retirement, so they seek dynamic local economies, an adequate housing stock and a lower cost of living. And since 92% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at two, making accessibility, the proximity to stores, services, social events, and transportation is priority.

For individuals of all ages, especially those over 65 years old, planning a life with less income, requires a place with lower costs and appealing lifestyle features–such as moderate climates, abundant cultural and life-long learning opportunities, lower health and long-term care expenses, and substantial activities.

By using the senior city guides and the data collected, individuals can do a thorough investigation of areas in the United States and then decide if a place is a good one to retire in or not.

Fundamental Statistics of a City and State

When reviewing the vital stats of the aging population by location, one discovers significant information:

  • The proportion of the older adults 65 and over
  • The number of that segment living alone
  • The annual income
  • The number of individuals on food stamps
  • The average Social Security Income
  • The median household income
  • The health rankings
  • The number of those still working
  • The number of veterans

Why it’s important

Let me explain the significance of the data. For example, I’m part of the 65+ population, and I fully understand my capabilities and know my desires of a healthy lifestyle. So, living in a location that promotes well-being and access to a comfortable routine is paramount. I’ll break each data point and explain how each relates to me. Hopefully, you will be able to interpret the guides to be a tool for direction.

The proportion of older adults – since I know the importance of connection and relationships, if I live in an area that has residents my age, I have a better chance finding companionship. Plus, it makes sense that services and activities will be available for us to enjoy.

The number living alone – I live alone and have a better chance finding my tribe in a location where the proportion of single people ranks highest.

Annual income – this factor affects what things and activities people can have and do. For me, I don’t want to live in a community where my peers either make a lot more or a lot less than me.

Health rankings – if a location ranks high in this aspect, I’ll have a better chance finding others who prefer an active lifestyle.

Working adults – continuing to work and having a purpose inspires me. So, if other people my age continue to work, chances are each will contribute to making a difference to society as a whole.

The article is a brief assessment of how I interpret the guides. Of course, I did not include other significant data like long-term care choices, and the costs of housing. The city guides offers that and more in one place for convenience. It’s difficult to research the demographics of a locations, let alone all the other stats the guides offer. Try it out and learn in-depth stats and data about the state and local area you’re living.



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