While most people aged 50-79 years old would prefer at-home care as they age, 91 percent of respondents have not proactively researched the care they may need as they grow older, according to findings from a national survey from Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group, a division of Cross Country Healthcare, a provider of in-home clinical and non-clinical care for aging seniors.

Further, 34 percent have not thought about their care needs, and awareness of existing managed-at-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.

The study, “Aging in Place: Assessing Seniors’ Understanding of Home Healthcare Options,” finds that 80 percent of respondents had not heard of either program.

“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,” said Pamela Jung, president of Cross Country Workforce Solutions Group, a division of Cross Country Healthcare. “We believe that keeping seniors at home for as long as possible is a win-win for patients and the healthcare system.”

PACE, a state-based program, provides comprehensive medical and social services to elderly participants still living in the community. Most of the participants who are in PACE are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) is another managed care program that provides a comprehensive, all-inclusive package of medical and supportive services.

“Pioneered in California, PACE enables seniors to age with dignity & independence at home in their communities where they want to be with the people they love. It’s better, safer, and less expensive than institutional care,” said Peter Hansel, Chief Executive Officer of the California PACE Association (CalPACE). “By enrolling with us, seniors receive individualized, integrated care from a team of doctors, nurses, therapists, and aides. These familiar faces know them, their family, and their home. Our personal touch to care is why 92 percent of seniors enrolled in PACE recommend it. With the nation’s elder population growing, expanding PACE access is critical to meet care expectations and challenges that come with this demographic change.”

Other study highlights included:

  • 70 percent of respondents said their preference for care as they get older is to remain at home with support.
  • 57 percent 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 percent of respondents in their 50s expecting a change in 16-plus years and 32 percent 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 percent), medical care (45 percent), shopping (36 percent), meal preparation (33 percent), and laundry (32 percent).
  • Costs are the most critical consideration in assessing managed-at-home care services, regardless of age (73 percent). Background checks on the care providers ranked second (66 percent), followed by the skill levels and services available (58 percent).
  • Participants reported that the information sources they would rely on for possible managed-at-home care services were friends and family (58 percent), online searches (58 percent), and their doctor (56 percent).

“For many, managed-at-home healthcare provides an alternative to offer more independence while optimizing individual care,” said Jung. “It centers healthcare around a person’s life rather than centering their life around healthcare. We believe that’s the way it should be.”

[Source(s): Cross Country Healthcare Inc, Business Wire]