“Aging isn't just a biological process -- it's also very much a cultural one. Elder Care, which is the “fulfillment of specials needs and requirements of the elderly” includes assisted living, adult day care, long term care, nursing homes (often referred to as residential care) hospice care and home care.
UNITED STATES HISTORY OF ELDER CARE
Before 1935, most elder facilities were county poor farms. “Title I of the 1935 Social Security Act created a program, called Old Age Assistance (OAA), which would give cash payments to poor elderly people, regardless of their work record, most county poor houses closed down, with only a few operating for the indigent elderly. However, many of the elderly did not qualify for the Old Age Assistance. It wasn’t until the 1950 “Amendments created a new source of financing for both the operations and the cost of constructing or renovating buildings to meet new licensing standards, and the county poor farm became a nursing home.” Among other things, OAA [Old Age Assistance] is important in the history of long term care because it later spawned the Medicaid program, which has become the primary funding source for long term care today.
ROLE OF ELDER CARE IN THE UNITED STATES
The role of elder care varies depending on the cultural setting and can differ from country to country or even region to region. Traditionally, elder care has been the responsibility of the family, especially in Asian countries. In Western society (including North American and Europe), however, the trend is now towards charitable or state institutions, but recently Asian societies have also started following suit.
According to the Family Caregivers Alliance, the average home caregiver is a married 46 year old female, who works outside the home. In fact, 59% to 75% of informal caregivers are women. Nevertheless, the challenge a person feels towards assisting their parents and their needs has caused a shift towards more and more families seeking help outside the home for their elderly.
By 2030, there will be approximately 72.1 million persons who are 65 years or older, in the United States. Thus, there will be an increasing need for either assisted living facilities or else home health care assistance (mostly for a limited time until the need arises for an assisted living facility). Some have also chosen to use Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) which is a home setting within a hospital unit, if the health condition of their elderly merits that option.
ORGANIZATIONS WHICH FOCUS ON THE ELDERLY
Areas Agencies on Aging (AAAs)
“Areas Agencies on Aging (AAAs) is a network of approximately 622 non-profit organizations nationwide that serve the elderly populations (60+) of their local areas. Most agencies serve a specific geographic area of several neighboring counties, although a few offer services statewide. This is especially true in smaller or less densely populated states. All the AAAs receives federal funding under the Older American Act and most supplement that funding with additional state and local revenues. “
Some of the services provided by AAAs are
Nutrition - counseling, home delivered meals, and congregate (group) meals
Caregiver Support - respite care and caregiver training / education
Care Management – in-home care assessments and care plan development
Information & Referral - information about home and community based assistance programs, such as Medicaid, and referrals to administrators
Long Term Care Ombudsmen - information about long term care facilities and investigation of complaints
Insurance Counseling - assists seniors in understanding and maximizing the benefits of their insurance, especially Medicare
Transportation - assistance understanding and coordinating shared, non-medical transportation services
Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs)
ADRCs [Aging and Disability Resource Centers] serve as a single point of entry for families to learn about the long term care support services available to them through federal, state, and other programs. The ADRCs provide free and objective counseling services.
THE FUTURE OF ELDER CARE
With this information, we can see that it has now been established that the tradition of elder care in the United States is to use an assisted living facility. Therefore, we are now seeing more and more assisted living facilities being constructed all over the country. However, this is not to rule out the socioeconomic need for many seniors to remain in a home setting, since the rise in cost of assisted living facilities has risen drastically over the last decade.
That said, “Many active retirees want to continue living or working close to a commercial district or city center. There are also many limited-mobility seniors who still want to access the amenities of a thriving downtown. These are both good reasons why community planners want to be senior-friendly, whether it’s creating senior housing in existing downtown hubs or considering the needs of older adults in planning new neighborhoods in the future.
★ Call Missy Donaghy, with Interiors for Seniors, for a FREE consultation 321-279-3301.