Care Options for Older Adults
The majority of aging adults will require long-term care at some point in their lives. The care economy in the US is a $6 Trillion industry comprised of paid and unpaid services for those who cannot independently support themselves. While 88% of Americans want to age at home or with loved ones, this is not a feasible long term option for most. A person 65 years old has a 70% likelihood of needing long term care services and supports in their remaining years.
And yet, growing old in America is complicated and increasingly unaffordable. A myriad of factors are contributing to an impending care crisis:
Each day, 10,000 Americans turn 65-years-old
The population age 65 and older increased from 40.5 million in 2010 to 55.7 million in 2020. It is projected to reach 80.8 million older persons by 2040. Most Americans age 40 or older have done little to no planning around their aging care needs.
The fertility rate is declining
Today, the fertility rate for an American woman is 1.7 children, which is below 2.1 children, the number needed to replace the aging population. By 2034, older adults will outnumber children under 18 years old. This means there is a declining population of younger people to care for their older counterparts.
Paid care workers are leaving the workforce
An increasing number of paid care workers are leaving the workforce. As a result, people are increasingly leaving their paid jobs in other industries to care of aging family members.
Older adults are financially struggling
According to a report from the National Council on Aging and UMass Boston, "Long-term care represents the single largest financial risk faced by older adults and their families”. Eighty-percent of households with older adults are financially struggling today or are at risk of economic insecurity.
Growing old is an expensive privilege
The cost of long-term care ranges and is out of scope for many people. On average, it costs over $61,000 per year for a home health aide, $54,000 per year for care in an assisted living facility, and over $108,000 for a private room in a nursing facility. Millions of Americans are providing unpaid care to family members, meaning lost wages and time toward competing priorities.
It can feel overwhelming to navigate the spectrum of care options, particularly as housing and healthcare needs start to merge together in old age. Below is the scope of options available today.
CARE OPTIONS - A LIST
Here is a list of the care options represented in the visual above for easy reference.
Age in Place
Stay at home, ideally with support from others (e.g., family, friends, village model, support services).
Rent space in their home to a roommate who shares costs and helps with daily tasks (e.g., cooking, shopping, laundry) in exchange for reduced rent.
Senior Home Sharing
Live with others, co-purchasing or co-renting a house, or living in a multigenerational household.
Reside in an independent living complex designed for older adults. Has some access to community-based amenities.
Reside in an independent living complex in a community restricted to people 55 years of age or older.
Receive care and supervision in a home-like environment.
Assisted Living Center
Receive care, supervision, and help with daily living activities (e.g., cooking, bathing) in a secure environment.
Receive care, supervision, help with daily living activities & medical care in a secure environment. Residents have medical needs and/or disabilities that require 24-hr support.
Memory Care Facility
Receive specialized care in a nursing home or assisted living community focused on managing dementia.
Receive care at home or in a facility that focuses on making the end-of-life experience as comfortable as possible.
Tags: Elder care, Older adults, Retirement, Housing, Healthcare, Care, Nursing home, Assisted care, Aging, Seniors