Home Care Gets a Boost from Housing Slump

Home care providers may be benefiting from the slow economic recovery, according to a May 8, 2011 article in The Milford Daily News. According to the article, more seniors residing in the Milford, MA area have delayed moving to independent living or assisted living communities, instead opting to wait out the housing slump. With real estate prices down, many seniors would be faced with selling their homes for less value or have difficulty selling at all. Those who are still independent enough to care for themselves are choosing to wait it out, hoping for a housing rebound before they’re in a position that they have to move immediately. Seniors choosing to delay moving to long-term care due to housing slump

Betsy Willard, director of community relations for Sunrise Senior Living in Milford, tells the Daily News she’s noticed a decline in referrals for assisted living, but notes that referrals for their memory care facility have remained consistent. Willard believes that’s because memory impairment often becomes a safety issue, so families are more likely to take action to keep their aging loved ones safe, even if it means financial sacrifice.

Seniors who are able to remain at home often do so with the help of home care services, which tends to be more flexible. Assisted living is essentially an all-or-nothing choice; you’re paying for 24-hour care right off the bat, while home care can range from just a few hours per week to round-the-clock care. For this reason, home care is often viewed as a more affordable option. Likewise, McKnight’s Long Term Care News reported yesterday that Genworth Financial’s cost of care survey finds that home care and adult day care costs have remained flat, while the cost of assisted living and skilled nursing facilities has gone up.

Still, consumers should evaluate their options carefully. If a loved one requires care for just a few hours each day, home care or adult day care makes sense. But families reaching a point at which they’re continuously adding hours with a home senior care provider, it might be time to re-evaluate. Home care, at an average cost of $19 per hour, can easily exceed the costs of assisted living and nursing home care if you’re approaching 10 hours per day or more. If your loved one requires 24-hour care, assisted living is a more cost-effective solution.

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