This article was originally posted on Cross Country. Read the full article here.
Despite the rapid acceleration of aging in the U.S., the study findings present a surprising lack of awareness of in-home care options for Americans aged 50 years or older. Fewer than one in 10 respondents are actively looking into care. More than one-third (34%) have not thought about their care needs as they get older. There are dramatically low levels of awareness for existing in-home care options like PACE, with four out of five respondents having no awareness of these services. And given a choice, most respondents (70%) would prefer to continue to age in place at home with support.
Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group surveyed i 500 U.S. people to gauge how those aged 50 years or more are preparing for the care they will need as they grow older. We learned that awareness of existing in-home care programs, such as PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) and LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly), was low among the survey respondents, regardless of age group. Eighty percent of the total respondents had not heard of either program.
PACE is a Medicare program for older adults and people over the age of 55 who are living with disabilities. It provides community-based care and services to people who otherwise need a nursing home. Ninety-five percent of PACE participants live in their community. The average age is 77, with 69% female and 31% male. PACE was created to provide participants, their families, caregivers, and professional health care providers flexibility to meet a person’s health care needs and help them continue living in their community.
Needs Vary for Managed-At-Home Services
The respondents reported that being taken to appointments (45%) and getting medically necessary care (45%) were the two most popular in-home care services. Shopping (36%) was reported as third, slightly ahead of meal preparation (33%) and laundry (32%). Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they are not interested in receiving any services. This finding jumped to 44% for respondents aged 60 to 79 with less than $50,000 and 41% for non-white respondents in the same age group. When asked what else they would be interested in if the services weren’t listed in the survey options, the most common responses were general housework and cleaning.
Most respondents (40%) would prefer afternoon care; few respondents prefer evenings or around-the-clock supervision. The plurality of respondents would select care one or two days a week, although many would like care three or four days a week.
Costs Drive Decisions About In-Home Care
Costs are the most critical consideration in assessing in-home caregiving services, regardless of age (73%). Background checks on the care providers ranked second (66%), followed by the skill levels and services available (58%). Personally selecting care individuals who would do home visits was more important to people in their 50s (56%) than other age groups. Respondents in their 70s were more concerned (61%) about the carers’ skill levels and the hours that help is available (56%) than any other age group.
When asked what information sources they would rely on to explore opinions on possible in-home caregiving services, the participants cited friends and family (58%), online searches (58%), and their doctor (56%) as the primary sources.
Despite the rapid acceleration of aging in the U.S., the study findings present a surprising lack of awareness of in-home care options for Americans aged 50 years or older. Fewer than one in 10 respondents are actively looking into care. More than one-third (34%) have not thought about their care needs as they get older. There are dramatically low levels of awareness for existing in-home care options like PACE, with four out of five respondents having no awareness of these services.
Who Can Join A PACE Plan?
You can join PACE if you meet the following conditions:
- You are 55 years old or older.
- You live in the service area of a PACE organization, and there are currently over 270 PACE Centers across the U.S.
- You are certified by the state in which you live, meeting the need for the nursing home level of care.
- You can live safely in the community when you join with the help of PACE services.
We believe that when a choice is an option, in-home care is the best solution to help seniors age in place. Home healthcare provides an alternative that can offer more independence while optimizing individual care for many. It recenters their healthcare around their life, rather than their life around healthcare. That’s the way it should be.