People: Our most valuable resource?

AARP released a new survey yesterday: 2011 State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers. Sadly, Oklahoma ranks 48th overall. Most alarming is that Oklahoma ranks 49th in Quality of Life and Quality of Care and 51st (DC is included) in Support to Family Caregivers.

As those reading my blog know, my life’s focus has been on children and families. I am not an expert on aging and disabilities….other than the daily knowledge I am gaining through passing my 60th birthday!

Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Hawaii all rank highest. What have those states done that Oklahoma hasn’t? Why, once again, are 7 of the lowest ranking states located in the southeast of the US?

The report accompanying the scorecard is nicely detailed about possible answers to the above and is offered as a benchmark and set of recommendations for states.

As Oklahoma tackles our design of health care reform and the creation of  a state health care exchange, this report is timely. All citizens, young and old, need a government that weaves individual choice and control (obviously with age-appropriate limitations for the young) with a framework of community well-being in which public structures support access and affordability to needed services for quality living.  That certainly sounds like populist Oklahoma to me.

Let’s hope our legislators working on these issues read the AARP report. Let’s hope our citizens notice the needs of their neighbors just a bit more. Let’s act in some way – big or small – to make a difference.

http://www.aarp.org/relationships/caregiving/info-09-2011/ltss-scorecard.html

Finally: It’s not all the parent’s fault!

Mixed news, but a new study from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health has reviewed a large research set of healthy foods/nutrition selections by young people over a 30 year period and concludes: (no surprise) kids’ diets today are very different and far less healthy than those of their parents and (surprise!) there are many more significant outside influences on kids’ selections that render parents’ influence very weak. Friends, advertising, availability, cheap costs, etc. are more significant than the pleas and instructions from parents, including healthy eating when that is provided at home.

Yet with 17% of youth ages 2-19 obese (according to the CDC), this new ‘perspective’ simply broadens our responsibility to include communities, school cafeterias, vendors, food industriesand government to ensure food literacy for our youth, to make healthy choices more available and affordable, and to inundate advertising toward good decisions concerning nutrition.

No, it’s not all our faults as parents. In fact, we clearly are minor players in this dilemma. However, we must rally, maybe we have to force, the other influential factors in protecting our youth to be more responsible themselves.

No, it’s not my fault. But there is still plenty for me/us to do!