Senior Living Services

The main problems or illnesses of people being cared for who require senior living services are “old age” (12%), Alzheimer’s disease (10%), mental/emotional illness (7%), cancer (7%), heart disease (5%), and stroke (5%).  The number of Americans aged 55 and older is 60 million, representing 21% of the total U.S. population.  With these kinds of current numbers, it’s projected that in the next 20 years 31% of the population, or 107.6 million people, will be aged over 55.

Now just because “55” determines that you’re a senior, it doesn’t mean that you’re in need of a caregiver, or other forms of senior living services.  However, even with the advancement of drugs and medical treatments, those living longer find that the quality of that life may not be worth it.  And when you evaluate worth, you’d need to look at social, physical, emotional and financial value.

The yearly average expense to adult children caring for an aging parent is now over $5,534.  This may or may not include out-of home care as part of the senior living services being provided.  Again, averages include out-of-pocket expenses for medications, house cleaning for seniors, meal delivery, other maintenance, all of which contribute to this number, that is being paid for by the children of an aging senior.

When considering senior living services, realize the average age of female caregivers is 48 years old.  And, since 66% of caregivers are female, many women who also participate in the paid labor force must face the challenges of meeting both work and family obligations.  An astonishing 59% of all female caregivers, work full-time jobs besides providing senior living services!

Some progressive employers are now providing assistance to employees for senior care, in much the same way that childcare programs became available in the late 1980’s.  However, there are many types of elder care assistance not necessarily provided through the workplace which include the following: geriatric care managers; homemakers and home health aides; companions/friendly visitors; telephone reassurance systems; respite care; daily money managers; home-delivered meals; chore and home repair; legal assistance or resources; family and medical leave; and assistance with financing care.

The following are among ways employers can help their employees with senior care services: conduct a needs assessment to determine employees’ need for and interest in assistance; refer employees to elder care resource and referral services; offer seminars providing basic information about elder care-related issues; provide employee assistance programs; offer counseling and long-term care insurance; support visiting nurse services and adult day care; develop an elder care pager program; establish flexible spending or dependent care accounts; and assist with transportation.

Once the economy begins growing again, we’ll see employers expanding their benefits programs to attract the best employees.  There will be another cycle where good workers will be in higher demand, and they will be able to command more of a total package, including senior care services, which will be most beneficial to the growing number of females in the workforce.

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