Between 2010 and 2050, the senior population is expected to reach 88.5 million, or 20 percent of the U.S. population, greatly increasing the need for senior care. Home health care will then become an even more significant element of the continuum of care. As our elderly population increases, it will require higher levels of health care that are more affordable and can be delivered at home. Many seniors have a strong preference for where they want to receive care. Multiple studies and surveys have shown 80–90% of seniors prefer to age at home
For these reasons, home health care will play an increasingly larger role in health care at large. Hospitals will benefit from reduced readmissions and the government penalties that result. Family members who care for their elders often experience a burden from caregiving—home health care can provide much needed respite. For elderly people limited in their daily activities, home care offers benefits. Toileting and bathing are easier, they have better mobility and they can enjoy cooking and companionship. They can live in a familiar environment where they feel independent, relaxed and secure.
Medicare’s coverage for home health care does not currently match the demand. Non-medical home care is largely not covered. Coverage for medical home care is quite limited. Medicare should review policies in this area in light of the lower cost of home health care, its favorable impact on recovery and the preference seniors are expressing for it. For many, home health care may be an interim step to home medical care and then nursing homes. But if the elderly have their way, they want to stay home.
Robots in Home Health Care
Robots will take on a wide and significant role in home health care in the years ahead. There is a shortage of nurses in health care. The number of elderly is climbing and so is the number of retiring nurses. An even larger shortage may develop for home health care aides. The demand is growing because one percent of chronically ill patients consume 22% of health care expenditures. Elderly patients get shuttled back and forth to multiple providers often resulting in a poor quality of life for them and their families. Telehealth shows promise as a method to provide a larger share of the care in the patients’ home or residence, potentially reducing the demand for nurses and aides.
2016 Market Overview for Aging in Place
Wearables will matter. Devices like Microsoft Band, Wisewear emergency jewelry, or any of a myriad of PERS offerings will penetrate the older adult market – by 2019, one out of five boomers/seniors will have some type of wearable on their body, whether it is smart clothing, a pendant or a band on their wrist. Recognizing that combinations of capabilities are becoming more relevant to older adults and families, by 2019, most PERS resellers will offer more subtle mobile devices, including watches, combine the transactional PERS activity with predictive analytics – helping to prevent future injury and the penalty of re-hospitalization.
The population aged 75+ becoming more comfortable with the Internet. Pew Research has long-tracked Internet usage through its Internet and American Life project – the survey has been running for the past 15 years and including the population aged 75+. Non adoption of the Internet has dropped from 93% non-usage in 2000 down to 50% in 2015. What was the context? Over 15 years, browsers and carrier speeds improved – and content the Web became more valuable.
Simplified and senior-specific devices lack a long-term market. Simplified tech (for aged 75+) can provide modified tablet interfaces – but as the AARP RealPad proved, specialty versions for the elderly have limited long-term potential. Newer, brighter, faster smartphones will replace tablets, and easier-to-use smartphones or smartphone interfaces will dovetail with market disappearance of the traditional clamshell phone. For seniors to keep up, training is critical – including refreshers from the carrier or company that provided the device.
Read Article (Dr. John R. Patrick | homecaremag.com | 01/01/2016)
Yes, the topic of an aging population does include you! And the list of things we tend to take for granted should NOT include our Senior Citizens.
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