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Dr. Marion: There's More than Enough Elder Care Work for All

She's Been There and Done That -- Since She Was 9

Marion Somers is a woman with a cute bus and a gentle demeanor who has had a tough life.

Somers -- the famous Dr. Marion -- is trying to tell Americans, in the nicest possible way, that, if they fail to plan for long-term care (LTC) expenses, many of them may end up with lives that are as tough as hers was.

She began driving a refurbished 1966 Greyhound bus around the country four years ago, on her own, before she got involved with the 3in4 Association's 3in4 Need More long-term care (LTC) planning awareness campaign, to learn about what was happening around the United States in the areas of LTC planning and actually providing LTC services.

She says that, in the course of her travels, she's seen some things that are working. She saw communities trying to emphasize "universal design" -- architectural choices, urban planning choices and other choices that can make houses, shops, offices and public spaces more usable by all residents, no matter what age those residents are or what abilities they have or don't have.

When she visited Scandinavia, she liked the fact that communities there build homes for elders near schools, to help people of different ages mix.

But "I found more that wasn't working," Somers said today at a club in New York during an interview at her latest stop on the second bus tour she's been doing with the support of the 3in4 Association.

Somers sat down for an interview about what long-term care insurance (LTCI) producers should tell their clients with LifeHealthPro when she drove through New York in 2011.

This year, we talked to her again and tried to capture more of what she has to say about LTC services, LTC planning and the desperation of informal caregivers.

Somers would love to see the government do more to help care recipients and caregivers, but she does not think consumers should expect to see much new assistance coming from that direction.

Somers talked to all of the major Democratic presidential candidates in Iowa four years ago and all of the major Republican candidates in Iowa earlier this year.

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