During the pandemic, we saw something happen in the senior care industry that has been brewing for many years. In mass numbers, something that has been a simmering, smaller scale problem for years burst into the international spotlight in a major way. Seniors had increased difficulty getting connected with adequate senior care.
An article was recently published on NPR’s website that highlighted some of the struggles of this lack of connection. Here, they discussed how some individuals were placed on waiting lists during the peak of COVID and were forced to wait months before they could be connected with adequate home health care.
For many, receiving in-home health care (medical assistance within the home) or in-home care (non-medical assistance in the home) is about maintaining independence and the quality of life that they are used to while still receiving an extra level of professional help while they age. It keeps people out of the nursing home or assisted living facility for longer periods of time and helps them to live the life that they want to for longer. It’s an ideal type of care for a lot of people.
But during the peak of the COVID pandemic, we experienced a huge worker shortage. The senior care industry wasn’t the only one impacted by this–everyone was. The big difference was that this worker shortage was already present prior to the beginning of the pandemic. It had been growing in severity for years.
There are things that you can do–right now–to help avoid a similar situation in the future. The first big thing you can do is to plan ahead. Know what you’re looking for in care and start your search early. Start speaking with the care services that might be of help even if you think it will be years before you utilize them.
Also, you can start taking steps to learn how to keep your loved one in your own home safely on your own. Many insurance companies will even pay you or provide you with training to make this a reality. If you’re not sure if these resources are available to you, reach out to your insurance company or even your employer. They may be able to get you pointed toward these things so senior care doesn’t need to be a big concern.
One person, or even one organization, can’t change the senior care system. This is an effort that needs to happen all across the board, on every single level. But there are things that you can do on your part to make things a little easier for you and your family on a day to day basis. Another easy thing that you can do starting today is find the ideal type of senior care to meet a loved one’s needs. There may be a care shortage on the broader basis all across the country, but looking at a loved one’s needs and approaching it from that end can make it easy.
This helps reframe the care discussion. When you focus on need rather than on a particular institution, you can utilize sources to help resolve those needs.