Aging in place is one of the top preferences for men and women approaching and passing retirement. If they need assistance or any type of short or long-term medical care, they would prefer to receive that in the comfort of their home as opposed to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
That essentially means the perceived value of home health care continues to increase. As it increases, demand also rises. This has placed increasing pressure on agencies and other providers and companies to find adequate solutions, especially given that there is a shortfall of valuable and dedicated workers expected in the next 12 to 14 years.
The shortage of home health aides and other providers is expected to exceed half a million workers by 2025. As noted in the Norwalk Reflector blog, Home healthcare aides vital to area, written by Michael Harrington:
“Depending on the severity, some people need to be in a permanent care facility, but others can continue to live at home if they have a nursing assistant to help them with the tasks they can no longer perform. But there aren’t enough people working in the field.
A study conducted by the the [sic] Mercer’s Workforce Strategy & Analytics practice estimated there would be a shortage of 446,300 home health aides and 95,000 nursing assistants by 2025.
“This staffing issues isn’t unique to our area but the rapidly aging population in our county certainly makes the challenge greater here,” said Valerie Kay, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Port Clinton.”
The numbers are staggering, especially considering the value home care offers to elderly and disabled individuals who wish to remain at home. For some, the only viable alternative is a nursing home that would be paid for through their savings and other assets before the government would pick up the tab.
Nursing homes are far costlier options than home care and may not offer the same level of support and direct attention as home care providers. Also, many people who depend on nursing homes would do well (or even better) at home than in one of these facilities.
Yes, increasing numbers of people are valuing home care, but without adequate funding to pay quality caregivers and retain these compassionate workers, the pending crisis may only grow worse.
While home care’s value continues to rise, that’s an important factor for agencies and other providers, but it’s the funding that remains the key to whether seniors and disabled adults will have access to these services when they need them.