For senior citizens the ability to live independently in their homes for as long as possible is known as “Aging in Place”. Those who age in place will not have to move from their present residence in order to secure necessary support services in response to their changing needs.
The Baby Boomers
As the baby boomers age, the 60+ population will spike from roughly 45 million in recent years to more than 70 million by 2020. Research shows that baby boomers’ expectations of how they will receive care differ from that of their parents’ generation. Overwhelmingly, they will seek care in their own homes and will be less likely to move into congregate living settings.
Why do many senior citizens prefer to age in place?
Nursing homes, to many, represent a loss of freedom and a reduced quality of life. Here are a few good reasons why these fears are justified:
- In 2007, inspectors received 37,150 complaints about conditions in nursing homes. Roughly one-fifth of the complaints verified by federal and state authorities involved the abuse or neglect of patients. Specific problems included infected bedsores, medication mix-ups, poor nutrition, and other forms of neglect.
- The proportion of nursing homes cited for deficiencies ranged from 76% in Rhode Island to as high as 100% in Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.
- Many cases have been exposed in which nursing homes billed Medicare and Medicaid for services that were not provided.
- A significant percentage of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused immediate jeopardy or actual harm to patients.
Home Safety for the Elderly
Each year, according to estimates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 1 million people over age 65 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with the products they live with and use everyday. The death rate from accidental injuries in the home is approximately three times greater for older people than for the younger population. Specifically, there are 60 deaths per 100,000 persons 65 and older, while there are 20 deaths per 100,000 persons under 65.