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If you haven’t spent time considering what your healthcare needs will be in the years or even decades from now, you’re not alone.
Recent research suggests that many aging Americans aren’t aware of the full range of options available to them. As we age, our healthcare needs intensify, and experts say that the U.S. healthcare system will need to embrace home healthcare options to meet the demand of an aging population.
The new national survey, titled “Aging in Place: Assessing Senior’s Understanding of Home Healthcare Options,” conducted by Bredin on behalf of Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group, shows that while most people aged 50-79 years old would prefer at-home care as they age, 91% of respondents have not proactively researched the care they may need as they grow older. Further, 34% have not thought about their care needs, and awareness of existing managed-at-home care programs was low among the survey respondents.
“By living at home, seniors can maintain their independence and be close to their loved ones and community, and by and large, that is what they want to do. At-home care can both meet the needs of those requiring long-term care, while alleviating some of the mounting challenges faced by hospitals and healthcare systems,” says Pamela Jung, president of Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group, a division of Cross Country Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of in-home clinical and non-clinical care for aging seniors.
As you explore your options, consider the following tips:
• Leave no stone unturned: From transportation to medical appointments to help with household tasks, consider what your potential needs might be and research programs in your community to address them. While there are assistance programs available to help seniors age with dignity, the Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group survey found that the majority of older Americans are unaware of an important one: Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a national program of comprehensive care for adults age 55 and over who would prefer to remain living at home rather than in a nursing facility. In some communities, PACE is known as Living Independently for the Elderly (LIFE). These programs can make living at home a safer and more affordable option than institutionalized care.
“This program has provided me with the best caregiver. She is a great person with a great heart, and she goes above and beyond during my home care services,” says Luther Bell, PACE participant. “I feel like I have improved a lot in many ways because my caregiver meal preps for me, provides quality care, and our daily interactions bring positivity to my life.”
• Start a dialogue: Talk to your family and friends about your wishes and where you would like to receive care. Also, continue to have regular conversations with your doctors about your health.
• Consider your budget: While the average senior collects just $18,000 annually in social security, 57% of survey respondents have not considered the budget they will need for aged care services and support. Take time to learn how much various aspects of care will cost, factoring in standard living expenses.
For additional survey results and information about home healthcare, visit crosscountryhealthcare.com/aging-in-place.
“At a time when the burden on hospitals and health systems has at times compromised their ability to deliver quality care, living at home with support can provide optimized care and independence to seniors,” says Jung.