Forbes: Aging In Place Concept Presents Unknowns

The majority of Americans report wanting to “age in place.” But there are major concerns that come with the concept, writes Forbes columnist Howard Gleckman.

The prospect has gained appeal relative to community-based options. But with the level of care needed by many of those age-in-place candidates, there’s also a risk in whether the services available at home are sufficient, 

Much information about family caregivers, the vast majority of caregivers who provide care to aging loved ones at home, is unknown, Gleckman points out in his article. The lack of skills, metrics and data leaves questions about the quality of care most people can access when they age in place.

Advertisement

“Much is undoubtedly delivered with great love and compassion. But, sadly, it is also provided by family members who have no caregiving skills,” Gleckman writes. “For instance, they often don’t know how to safely lift a frail relative out of bed, or how to help her bathe….And we nothing about how many people fall because a family member can’t manage that transfer.”

The knowns are “sketchy,” Gleckman says, even when it comes to paid home care aides, with additional uncertainty presented by the fact that many home care agencies are private pay, and their services and results are not tracked by Medicare and Medicaid.

“There is also no quality information about the huge “grey market” of home health aides—the tens of thousands of independent contractors who get jobs by word of mouth, by posting a 3×5 card on a supermarket bulletin board, or through an ad on Cragislist,” he writes. “Some of these aides are terrific. Some are incompetent or worse. The problem is: We don’t know.”

Advertisement

View the Forbes column.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

Companies featured in this article: