By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post
California is getting older. Gavin Newsom said it himself in his first State of the State address: “The Golden State is getting grayer.”
In fact, according to the California Department of Finance, it’s estimated that the state’s 65 and over population will grow by 90% in the next decade and double in 25 years, from 4.3 million in 2010 to 8.4 million. Older Californians will outnumber young children for the first time in history.
With these increases, so too comes a growth in the number of elderly people living with chronic and debilitating health issues that require support. Newsom’s “master plan on aging,” issued in June 2019, recognized the importance of this growth and of long-term elderly support, including “in-home supportive services.”
A recent AARP study found that almost 90% of seniors want to stay in their own home to receive care as they age. Many older people feel receiving care at home allows them to live with greater independence, dignity and comfort.
Thankfully, it’s never been more possible for patients to receive health care support in their own home. Here are just some of the reasons why home care is becoming the preferred option for elderly support.
Health care at home helps people to maintain greater control over their care, such as when and how they receive support. It’s common for patients to change the amount of assistance they need and home care can accommodate this. Home care offers the opportunity for a more tailored approach, with a focus on all aspects of care, including emotional, mental and physical needs.
One of the biggest advantages of healthcare services at home is that it typically costs much less than keeping a patient in an assisted living facility. Although this depends on the level and frequency of care needed, one study showed that assisted living cost around 75% more than home care.
Home Care vs. Hospital:
Preferences Are Shifting
Anxiety about leaving the local community and fear of the unknown are all reasons many seniors prefer not to enter hospitals or similar facilities. Given the choice, care at home is overwhelmingly opted for by older people, and when home and hospital offered equivalent outcomes, 46% of the sample preferred treatment at home, according to a study of recently hospitalized older people living at home.
One on One Focus
Home health care services allow for more meaningful, one-to-one personal attention, allowing for greater bonds to build with patients. Doctors visiting a patient at home may spend up to an hour or more with patients and are also better able to see how the condition affects their patients in their home environment.
Going into hospital can separate the older person from the people usually providing care. Disrupting the bond between the elderly person and their caregivers can be distressing, and new caregivers are often not aware of the preferences, specific needs and requirements of the senior.
Less Risk of Infection
Weaker immune response and co-morbidity of other illnesses mean the elderly are particularly prone to catching infections. Infections can be deadly, as COVID-19 has sadly proved. Living at home reduces the chances that a loved one will contract anything that may compromise their health further.
Comfort and Quality of Life
Being at home is significantly more comfortable for most people compared to somewhere unfamiliar. Being surrounded by personal items, such as photographs, books, TV and sofa, can help people feel at greater ease and experience a greater sense of wellbeing, aiding recovery and symptom relief.
Early action and planning are the key to successful elderly care. If you have questions about supporting your loved one at home, Luxe Homecare can help.
Ben Adel is cofounder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades home care agency offering services in Los Angeles, including Malibu, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Bel Air and Beverly Hills. They offer 24/7 care, including registered nurses (RN and LVN) and rehabilitation services. Think your loved one might benefit from extra support? Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
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