New study shows serious lack of awareness and financial planning for at-home care programs by those 50 years or older.
Most people aged 50-79 prefer at-home care as they age, but nearly all—91%—have not proactively researched the care they may need as they age and 34% have not thought about their care needs as they grow older.
Those findings from a national survey by Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group, a division of staffing consulting agency Cross Country Healthcare, also revealed low awareness of existing managed-at-home care programs.
By 2030, some 21% of the American population will be at retirement age, and seek to distance themselves from traditional institutionalized care, the study says.
Providing transportation to and from appointments and getting medically necessary care are the two most requested at-home care services, according to the “Aging in Place” survey. With the average senior collecting $18,000 annually in social security, transportation costs and other financial burden can create barriers to accessing care, the study says, causing more seniors to wait until their condition is severe enough to require emergency medical care.
That’s why they need to become aware of programs such as the PACE Medicare program or the Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) program, both of which provide medical care and support services to the elderly, says the study.
“At-home care has proven to provide a better quality of life and outcomes for seniors requiring perpetual care, and it has tremendous potential to relieve some of the burdens our healthcare system will face with today’s aging population,” Pamela Jung, president of Cross-Country Workforce Solutions Group, said in a press release. “We believe that keeping seniors at home for as long as possible is a win-win for patients and the healthcare system.”
"For many, managed-at-home healthcare provides an alternative to offer more independence while optimizing individual care," Jung said. "It centers healthcare around a person's life rather than centering their life around healthcare. We believe that's the way it should be."
Additional study highlights include:
- 70% of respondents said their preference for care as they get older is to remain at home with support.
- 57% of respondents have not considered a budget for what they may need for aged care services and support.
- The time horizon for changing living arrangements decreases with age, with 59% of respondents in their 50s expecting a change in 16-plus years and 32% of respondents in their 70s expecting to make a change within the next five years.
- The most in-demand managed-at-home-care services were transportation to appointments (45%), medical care (45%), shopping (36%), meal preparation (33%), and laundry (32%).
- Costs are the most critical consideration in assessing managed-at-home care services, regardless of age (73%). Background checks on the care providers ranked second (66%), followed by the skill levels and services available (58%).
- Participants reported that the information sources they would rely on for possible managed-at-home care services were friends and family (58%), online searches (58%), and their doctor (56%).