Almost one in four US adults age 50 and older said they or a loved one had needed long-term care in the past year.
Additionally, they generally faced significant frustrations trying to navigate this reality. That’s according to a new survey commissioned by senior-focused think tank Nexus Insights. The research was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.
Specifically, the survey highlighted that more than half of these adults said selecting long-term care options caused anxiety and frustration. In comparison, only 23% felt confident or at peace, and even fewer – 14% – felt happy when making a decision for themselves or a loved one.
Source: Nexus Insights
“Making a decision about long-term care is a maze of emotional twists and turns, dead ends and setbacks,” Robert Kramer, founder and fellow of Nexus Insights, said in a statement. “The lack of a consumer-friendly system to help families navigate the staggering array of decisions that need to be made quickly during a health crisis adds to family stress. This can result in decisions being made that result in poorly coordinated and substandard care.”
The results of the survey — which emerged from interviewing over 1,000 adults over a four-day period in November — have led Kramer and the researchers to believe, or continue to believe, that there is an urgent need for more consumer-friendly resources to “help improve care options.” navigate.”
The survey also included 69% of these older adults, who indicated that it was extremely important for them to receive additional information about care costs and how to pay. Also, an important note for home care providers was that 63% wanted to know more about the different types of long-term care services available.
Source: Nexus Insights
“Many families come to terms with a long-term care system that is almost impossible to navigate and offers little to no support for families making life-or-death decisions,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at NORC at the University of Chicago in a statement . “Most people will ultimately have to make decisions about long-term care for themselves or a family member, so creating a consumer-friendly long-term care navigation system should be high on the national to-do list.”
There are some examples of companies already trying to make this happen. For example, A Place for Mom — a referral company that helps seniors and their families with caregiving — has been around since 2000. The company is targeting home care as an area of growth and recently raised $175 million.
Home care technology Honor – which includes Home Statt – also launched Honor Expert this year. The company wants Honor Expert to be a “one-stop shop” for seniors trying to navigate the care journey.
It’s not new that long-term care services have been difficult to navigate, and home care providers have indicated there is greater recognition of home care options as a silver lining to the pandemic.
“I still talk to people today who say, ‘I didn’t know about this service – [home care] – existed. I wish I had known that when my mom or dad went through that.’” said Jeff Salter, CEO of Caring Senior Service, at Home Health Care News’ recent Home Care Conference. “That’s one of the surprising parts of my 30-year career, to see that’s still the case.”
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