According to AARP, nearly 117 million people in the United States will require some form of assistance with daily activities in the next few years. At that time, there will only be roughly 50 million individuals available to help. These figures are higher for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia as sufferers of cognitive decline may require multiple caregivers.
Families should start setting up arrangements for care before it becomes an absolute necessity for their aging parents and loved ones. This will include an analysis of long-term care options, both home-based and residential community-based, in order to optimize the well-being of aging family members.
Planning end-of-life care is more in-depth than a medical directive. A medical directive lays out an older persons’ vision of the extent they want to be able to participate in and benefit from the medical advances and current developments to sustain life. On the other hand, end-of-life encompasses long-term decisions to make effective adjustments in order to live, and die, at home, or the plan to relocate to an assisted living home when appropriate.
According to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, only 21 percent of people have written instructions on their desires for end-of-life care. Doctors and medical providers may ask patients routinely whether a medical directive exists, but doctors never question the care for the end of the patient’s life.
Hospice, or palliative care, is the focused support for those who have a life-limiting illness or disease with a life expectancy of six months or less. Hospice care allows individuals to focus on comfort and quality of life, a unique benefit that helps loved ones influence their remaining time. Hospice offers the dying person and their loved ones with necessities – either physical, emotional or spiritual – for the remaining time permitted. It covers care, cost and delivery of equipment to the home, medical supplies and more, and is generally covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance.
Officials in Washington, D.C. are discussing the resources that should be available to people seeking end-of-life care at home. During the forum Seniors Decide 2016, which discusses issues that affect the elderly in America, overall home care was celebrated, and one representative even called it a “no brainer.” There was a deep sentiment conveyed that receiving superior care in the home is the most beneficial alternative to an assisted care facility. In addition, it was expressed that home care can be significantly less expensive than other options.
It was speculated that health resources for the costs of end-of-life care may be raised on the federal level in the near future, particularly noting the rise in aging Americans. Previous forums have also discussed support for caregivers providing necessary home and home health care services.
The Comprehensive Care Act, a bipartisan effort, has been presented to concentrate specifically on end-of-life care. A coordinated effort between both consumers and providers would provide instruction on hospice and palliative care. The result of this would provide a program of end-of-life care for patients and families to consider.
While society can begin to prepare for the changes accompanied with a population that is largely composed of aging adults, the need to begin laying the groundwork for future necessary in-home care is present within the individual family units. If you are interested in speaking with a local care manager on long-term care options or hospice and palliative care, call 1-866-454-8346.