The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic found many countries around the world questioning what is the best way to care for their elderly citizens. In the United States, the question is no different.
On one hand, older adults living in congregate care settings were at the highest risk of contracting the novel Coronavirus. On the other hand, many older adults living at home found themselves isolated and at-risk for other negative health events. Older adults in both settings suffered from loneliness due to their inability to see their loved ones or access support in their community.
What Do Older Adults Want as They Age?
The United States is home to one of the largest and most industrialized senior care industries in the world. This means that as any of us age, we may find ourselves in a congregate care setting or seek to place our loved one there. But, what do most seniors want or need as they age?
According to a 2018 survey by AARP, 78% of Americans say they want to remain in their home as they age. They also cite access to loved ones, basic transportation and companionship as essential ingredients in a successful aging process.
Older adults thrive from a sense of purpose, gravitating to communities where they feel comfortable driving or moving about. They also seek fulfillment and a way to give back in later life through volunteer and community enrichment programs.
Medical Care and Support
One of the undeniable truths about aging is that we will need access to more medical care and support than we need as younger adults. The key to meeting the needs of older adults is to provide enough supportive services so that older adults can prevent or mitigate negative health events. And to help them manage chronic diseases as needed throughout their aging process.
According to the CDC, “Clinical preventive services can prevent disease or find disease early, when treatment is more effective. These services include screenings for chronic conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes; immunizations for diseases such as flu and pneumonia; and counseling about personal health behaviors.
Increasing the use of preventive services by adults aged 50 or older is a key public health strategy, given the rapid aging of the US population. Unfortunately, only 25% of adults aged 50 to 64 and less than 50% of those 65 or older are up to date on these potentially life-saving services.”
The Importance of a Social Network
It goes without saying that many older adults know how or want to better manage their health; but simply lack the support to do so. Most older adults move into senior communities because of simple issues. Examples include forgetting to take their medication or poor balance that leads to a fall.
Instead of using a medical solution to solve a lifestyle problem, seniors may benefit from using a support network instead. But many don’t have families or friends who can help. And even if they do, most don’t have the time or financial freedom to become full-time caregivers.
Services like CarePods help individuals manage their health proactively, making their own home a viable and safe choice.
It’s critical that we recognize that older adults want the very same thing we want from our lives: a sense of purpose, belonging and a bit of help when needed. By focusing on our commonalities, we can implement common-sense solutions that keep our aging loved ones safe while also helping them live a life on their terms.