The Home Care Association of America and Global Coalition on Aging‘s collaborative booklet, “Caring for America’s Seniors: The Value of Home Care,” was the first report to shed a light on the critical role home care plays in the lives of many seniors, families, the healthcare system, and the nation’s economy as America continues to gray.
“The Value of Home Care” emphasizes the importance of home care by helping us not only understand the needs of our aging population, but also by forcing us to recognize American seniors’ desire to age in the comfort of their own homes and in the communities with which they are familiar. Here are a few key takeaways from the report, as well as some insight as to how home care is a key component of the senior care continuum.
Studies show in most cases, a good quality of life is better maintained by remaining in the home as long as possible. This is based on many factors, including seniors’ mental and emotional wellbeing in familiar surroundings. And where the mind/body connection is concerned, mental health impacts physical health. Staying in one’s own home also protects seniors from viral and bacterial risks common in senior living facilities, improving their chances of staying as healthy through the aging process when the immune system functions less effectively.
The Graying of America
- As of 2021, 56 million Americans are 65 and older.
- By 2050, that number will reach 84 million
- By 2040, the number of adults older than 85 is expected to triple.
Americans (and much of the world) are aging. There are now more adults over the age of 65 than ever before. The percentage of Americans over 65 will continue to increase as baby boomers age, and improvements in healthcare extend our average life span.
While this is certainly something to celebrate, our “bonus years” don’t come without a price. An increase in age often leads to an increase in the likelihood you will need care. In fact, nearly 70% of Americans who reach 65 will be unable to care for themselves at some point; as a result, they will need some form of assistance.
Who is Going to Provide the Care?
It’s no secret that our current government healthcare programs and institutions are insufficient when it comes to meeting the needs of our rapidly aging population.
This begs the question, “Who is going to provide that care?”
The answer lies in home care—more specifically, private-pay home care.
Home care allows seniors to age in the comfort of their own homes while maintaining their health and prolonging their active lifestyles for as long as possible. This service is provided by home care professionals referred to as caregivers.
Although caregivers are typically not medically certified, they do receive professional training that allows them to assist seniors with the activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include:
- Meal preparation/feeding
- Medication reminders
- Walking/exercise assistance
- Light housekeeping
Arguably more importantly, caregivers also provide seniors with the companionship and mental stimulation many older adults fail to receive. These caring professionals have various ways of doing this, including engaging seniors in conversation and accompanying them in other activities. Caregivers also give families peace of mind by recognizing and alerting loved ones to any signs they feel may indicate a decline in health.
At this time of pandemic, the additional professional training that Amada Senior Care caregivers receive includes ongoing training and certifications on minimizing Covid-19 risks. In addition to this education on universal precautions, Amada caregivers also are provided with PPE (personal protective equipment) like gloves, masks and hand sanitizer.
Home Care Allows Seniors To “Age in Place”
It’s no secret why older Americans want to stay at home. There is a sense of pride that comes with owning your own home and it is often part of the American dream. Over 80 percent of Americans in their early 70s own their own home, and as you can imagine, many of them worked hard to do so. Owning a home is something they are proud of, and it can be devastating for them to leave simply because they need a little (or a lot) of help. Home care often provides seniors with the option to live where they choose.
Home Care Reduces Long-Term Care Costs
Not only does home care allow seniors to age where they want, but it does so while reducing the overall financial cost of health care. Home care is a far more cost-effective option for long-term care than traditional methods. Here is a snapshot of the current annual cost of long-term care.
It costs about $91,250 for a private room at a nursing home, while a semi-private room cost an average of $80,300. $43,200 is the average cost to live in an assisted living facility. It costs an estimated $45,000 to receive in-home care services. You can calculate the cost of care in your area with the Genworth Cost of Care Survey Tool.
Home care has also been shown to…
- Reduce hospital readmissions
- Reduce the need for a doctor
- Reduce senior falls (which often result in a trip to the doctor)
Private-pay home care complements our existing health care services by alleviating some of the pressure on the healthcare system and simultaneously allowing many seniors to age where they want to—in their homes. Not only does home care fill a critical gap for seniors in between hospital stays, nursing home facilities, and care provided by loved ones, home care provides seniors with a choice about how and where they age. Furthermore, home care gives family members peace of mind knowing their older loved ones are safe.
If you have questions about home care, how to safely age in place and how to pay for caregiving for a family member, we would love to speak with you and provide answers. , we would love to speak with you and provide answers. Amada Senior Care is committed to enriching lives by providing nurturing, compassionate, non-medical in-home care and by guiding families through the many supportive senior living options available to them. Click here to find a location near you.