Changes in senior care are shaping the home care industry for 2014, largely in part to economic reasons. Lifestyle preferences, technology, geriatric medicine, and longevity are also contributing factors. Fortunately for medical professionals and families who favor home care, the grass currently seems to be greener on their side! We have compiled a list of some trends to look for this year:
1. More Aging in Place, Less Nursing Home Care
This trend is not particularly new, but continues to develop. More seniors want to “age in place” in the homes where they have built their lives. This move away from nursing homes and towards home care is due to the desire to maintain independence and dignity as well as financial reasons. Living in a skilled nursing facility costs significantly more than utilizing home care services. Also, for individuals who do not need around the clock care, home care is a more practical option. Home care allows clients to choose what assistance they do and do not need and pay by the hour. They set their own schedules and are not subject to the rules and routines of a facility.
2. Rise in Multi-generational Households
Expect to see more multigenerational households with young and mature families blending together with two, three, and even four generations under one roof. Concern about an aging loved one’s health and fluctuations in the economy make it necessary for many individuals to pool their resources and share space, rather than take on the full cost of running a home. The trend is also a good option for seniors who don’t feel comfortable living on their own, but who want to remain with family and friends rather than moving into a senior community or nursing home. Home care services can help multigenerational households to function successfully and even offer respite care when caregivers needs some time away. As an added benefit for families, it has been reported that children develop important skills, knowledge, and experiences by spending significant time with older loved ones like grandparents and great-grandparents.
3. Increase in Technology-enhanced Senior Care
If you pay attention to the commercials on TV you might think that all technology is designed for the younger generation, but there are plenty of innovative tools that seniors and other home care clients can use to improve daily living. Worried about a loved one who is home alone while you are at work? Use an app like Lively, which uses sensors placed around the home to track daily activities so that you know they are safe. You will be able to tell if they took their medication on time, went outside, or if they have suffered a fall. Another tool called CareSolver helps caregivers to organize the daily needs of their loved ones with reminders for medications and tasks. Alarms for wandering Alzheimer’s patients, mobile health apps, and electronic health records are other technologies impacting the home care industry. There is currently a need for these devices and plenty of innovators eager to contribute, making it likely that we will see a rise in senior centered technology in the coming year.
4. Spike in Job Growth
Home care nurses and personal aides will feel secure in the industry in 2014. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts significant job growth over the next several years. According to the BLS, in 2013 3,900 new jobs were created in July alone. Nursing and residential care facilities created only 300. If these numbers are any indication for this year, home care is definitely the industry to enter for healthcare professionals who want to work with the elderly, chronically ill, or physically disabled.
For baby boomers, it is certainly a good time to be entering your senior years. You have many options when it comes to personal and health care. Technology is more prominent in daily life than ever, making living at home even with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease feasible, and being surrounded by loved ones willing to take on care responsibilities is a positive trend fostering familial relationships. Home care is one choice that many individuals have already taken advantage of and continue to be happy with. You can too!
Call MAS Home Care at one of our New England offices. We have locations in New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.