The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey has made it possible for local seniors to access wellness assessments via the Wellness Assessment Van for Elders Program. Known as WAVE, this provides yearly wellness visits for those who are 65 years and older.
Medicare already has been covering this since 2011. However, many seniors have not been taking advantage of this. Indeed, reports have found that a mere 10 percent are getting their annual checkups. WAVE administrators are planning to significantly increase this number.
According to Medicine Plus, there are manifold reasons for the elderly to go for annual screenings. First, as a general wellness check. Second, to assess and discuss any risk of future medical issues. Third, to promote and facilitate a healthy lifestyle. Fourth, to update any important vaccinations. And fifth, to familiarize the patient with their medical provider, should an illness or deterioration in a condition, occur. Then of course, there are the more specific screening cases based on lifestyle choices, medical history and cholesterol/blood pressure levels.
The forecast for the global care services market by 2022 is $1,012.02 billion. This is due in part to the consistent increase of the elderly population, more susceptible to chronic medical conditions. Most of this money is coming from insurance by Medicaid or Medicare. Figures for 2012 showed that almost 99% home health agencies, 100% hospice, and 96.5% nursing homes were Medicare certified.
With all this expense though, how satisfied are the elderly – and their loved ones who are often left navigating the system for them – with this care? For Joe Cardona who recently helped his elderly father with getting the right health care for dementia, in Florida, the answer would be very much dissatisfied. He felt like the personal touch was completely amiss: “from the moment you visit a facility or communicate with most healthcare providers, it will become abundantly clear that you and your loved one are nothing more than potential clients, not patients.”
From Cardona’s experiences a lot of these issues are due to the immense bureaucracy that he feels is more challenging in Miami and “particularly thorny and difficult to navigate.” He ultimately concludes from his experience with his now late father, “if a society is measured by how it cares for its most vulnerable, then we are an abject failure.”
Perhaps we need to start looking exactly at how “caring” all this money that is being spent, really ultimately is.
According to information released by PR Newswire, it is anticipated that by the year 2022, the amount of money spent through the worldwide geriatric care services market, will reach $1,012.02bn. The volume is so high due to the increasing population of the elderly who are staying alive but are therefore needing medical care due to chronic medical conditions.
In 2014 the value of what was spent on home care services was $255.36bn. it is anticipated that growth will continue at a solid rate. The elderly often prefer home care services as their lives do not have to undergo a complete overhaul. They can also stay with their loved ones.
In North America, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out that three years ago, there were 58,600 long term care facilities and 4,800 adult day care centers. The main players in this include: Brookdale Senior Living, Extendicare, Inc., Genesis Healthcare Corp., Kindred Healthcare Inc., and the Senior Care Centers of America.
The NHS – the UK’s public National Health Service – is finding new ways to help make healthcare for the elderly more efficient. As well, devices used for this purpose are much more cost effective. The issue is, to create these devices and put them in homes, requires funding. Apparently there is a gap in the money needed of £485m (almost $750m) that was lacking from the NHS’s first quarter of 2015/6 budget.
Since many seniors fall into the category of individuals with chronic illnesses which necessitate long term medication and frequent medical check ups, what would be more efficient, is home-owned devices to take over this role. Indeed, according to Andrew Carle, executive-in-residence at the Program in Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University more than half of all 85+ year olds fall each year.
A lot already has been done in a similar area, whereby the elderly can be monitored or get immediate help. These include: the Medical Guardian Medical Alert Systems, the LifeFone Personal Response Service, the Bay Alarm Medical Alert System and more.
One possible solution is being proposed by the Healthcare Informatics, Solutions and Services (HISS) division which seems to “equip patients with the tools and technologies they need to self-manage and monitor their healthcare at home,” as this will come a long way in reducing the amount of visits patients make to hospitals and medical centers and thus decrease the burden on these institutions.
Right now the aim is to find a way to monitor people in their homes not just intensive care units, but with chronic diseases. Some devices for example can track changes in an individual’s gait which could indicate individuals at risk of a fall or a stroke. But again, the funds are lacking.
For now there are monitoring devices for the home but it seems that there is still a long way to go.
The Paid Caregiver Program Locator – a free web tool that provides the opportunity for families to identify programs which offer monetary assistance to caregivers – has just been released. The American Elder Care Research Organization (AECRO) is behind the development and manufacture of this tool which helps those 34 million Americans, who – without pay – care for their elderly loved ones.
This tool has the potential to offer a lot of respite for the caregivers. It works by the user (the caregiver) answering questions about their particular situation. Thereafter, the Locator will “find” specific programs that can help them and explain how they work, who is eligible and how beneficial they can be.
According to Alex Guerrero, Director of Operations at AECRO, America offers more than 100 programs which can assist in the payment of caregivers for their efforts. “However,” he noted, “finding these programs and understanding their complex eligibility requirements is a major challenge, especially for time-constrained caregivers. Our Program Locator will quickly and easily educate families about the financial options available to compensate them for their caregiving efforts.”
The tremendous bureaucracy is often too overwhelming for those family members who are already feeling the burden of overextending themselves. Hopefully with this tool from AECRO that will soon be a thing of the past.
In 2013, skilled nursing facilities accounted for the largest share of elder care service revenue in America. The question now is though, what direction is set for the future? Who will be spending most on eldercare in America and where will that money be coming from? As our population continues to age,
But it seems that it is home healthcare that has the highest predicted growth rate in America. This is mainly due to the fact that elderly people generally prefer to remain in their own environments, rather than moving to a specialized eldercare home, away from their families. Given that home based services for the elderly are improving all the time – along with the advances in medical technology – it seems that this is a good option.
Remote monitoring, personal emergency response systems, and other such devices are being developed all the time for this demographic. And so they should be. Last year, VP of Technology and CIO, Clifford Cancelosi found that America’s over 50 group has the control of over 75 percent of the country’s total wealth. So clever start-ups are now increasingly focusing on what devices to make for them, such as Aging 2.0 whose mission it is “to inspire innovation for this unique population of users and to improve the lives of seniors around the world.”
Back to the growth projection of the different eldercare options, it is also anticipated that there will be an increase in the popularity of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) since seniors generally prefer these to standard senior homes that have a more rigid, less independent feel.
The eldercare market is definitely a good one for investment. Companies that are making the most of this include: CareSolver (technology to help organize and undertake daily tasks), Lively (sensors to keep track of your loved one’s actions and movements) and Tapestry (an app to help the elderly stay in touch with their friends and families).
It’s all happening on the senior front. Take care of your elders seems to be the message; they are vibrant and significant part of society.
Hillsborough is setting up for its 2015 Green Living and Wellness Fair. Taking place on June 17, it focused on both environment and health, with screenings and information on green living and will take place at the Hillsborough Township Municipal Complex.
In addition in Brooklyn, there was the Seniors’ Legal Safety and Wellness conference on June which was held at the Centreville Baptist Church, organized by the Annapolis Valley Aging Well Together Coalition in an attempt to imbue the elderly with accurate and useful information to help them make the most appropriate decisions as they age.
Through another study – a series entitled ‘The Faces of 85 and Up,’ in which a group of six New Yorkers in that age bracket were followed on how they navigate life, one piece of advice seemed to be consistent: the importance of keeping a sense of humor as one ages. 91-year old John Sorensen from the study comically said: “the only thing about dying is that I won’t be alive long enough to enjoy the fact that I finally died.” Although the truth is, this is because he lost his long-term partner and no longer wants to live without him.
If we are privileged to reach old age, there are many ways to do so gracefully.
China’s population is aging fast. At the end of 2014 for example, over 15.5 percent of the population (212 million individuals) were age 60 or above. The elderly is thus becoming more of an issue than ever before. As a result, China is looking into alternative methods to better serve their aging population.
One possible solution is the web. Vice Minister of Civil Affairs, Zou Ming, is promoting the use of the internet as a way of boosting e-commerce amongst the elderly. It is likely that the country will use the Internet Plus initiative as a way of making home-based care for the elderly a real, safe and attractive option. This initiative is being supported by Li Keqiang who wants traditional Chinese industries to take advantage of the Internet.
The one possible issue with this however is that elderly people have a hard time picking up new technologies. But, the earlier they learn and the slower the learning curve, the better off they will be according to Ming.