Modern Elder Care Facilities: When Aging in Place is Not an Option
The percentage of Americans aged 65 and above has grown from 12.98% to 16.63% between 2010 and 2020, and while many people would love to age in place in their homes, this is not often possible. As of 2018, an estimated 918,700 American aging adults lived in residential care communities. Eldercare facilities provide an important societal need: empowering older adults to age with dignity and providing their loved ones with peace of mind by delivering reliable, professional care.
The primary tech goal within the eldercare industry is to promote the idealization of aging in place, produce an image of aging independence, and address the growing concerns around the type of care provided.
Aging in place is not always an option, but many older adults have concerns about moving into a residential long-term care (LTC) facility. Concerns shared by their families are centered around potential neglect, abuse, cost, and lack of visibility into day-to-day care.
The Price Tag Doesn’t Match the Quality of Care
Many families are terrified of LTC costs, especially when they don’t know what kind of care their loved ones will get. For instance, the annual median cost for assisted living facilities increased 4.65% to $54,000 in 2021. And the cost can jump to $94,900 if the resident is in a semi-private room or $108,405 if the resident is in a private room.
One aspect that contributes to cost worries is a lack of financial resources. Of course, families want the best for their loved ones, but there’s only so much you can do if you can’t pay the bill. If the aging adult doesn’t have deep retirement savings, their loved ones might have to foot the bill, and this could impact the families’ finances. Even if the aging family member has deep savings, there will still be lingering concerns that the money might run out at some point.
Another concern related to cost is that older adults who have fewer assisted living needs may feel that the price of living in a care facility is too high. This is also true for aging adults who can independently perform activities of daily living.
Beyond these, family members might be worried about the general setup of the care facility campus. Do these facilities provide scheduled activities, hobby and craft rooms, lounges, and libraries, or is it an endless hallway with rooms?
Real and Valid Concerns of Neglect
According to WHO, one in six people aged 60 years and above experienced some form of abuse including medical neglect, abandonment, emotional neglect, and neglect of living needs in a community setting. As much as 15.3% of complaints against nursing homes were centered on allegations of gross neglect.
Sadly, neglect whether intentional or unintentional means that the senior living facility is failing in its obligation to provide its residents with the necessary care and attention. Unless the right systems and processes are put in place, it might be difficult to assuage the concerns of family members that their aging family members won’t be neglected.
Adopting eldercare solutions outfitted with data analytics can help track residents’ activities, caregiver response times, and emergency response times. The data can provide quantitative insights into the quality of attention that residents receive, identify gaps in the care program, and benchmark staff member performance.
Families Need Visibility Into the Well-being of Residents
Family members often feel different types of guilt or inadequacy for placing their loved ones in a care facility. The worst part is that the feeling of guilt can be exacerbated if the family members feel that their aging loved ones are not getting the best care.
A recent study showed that conflicts between family members and caregiver staff are positively associated with continued feelings of guilt, while a sense of satisfaction with the staff seemed to lessen the guilt.
If family members have visibility into the care program for their aging loved ones, it creates a more collaborative relationship between families and caregivers. However, many care facilities rely on reactive reporting systems in which the care assistants or nurses on duty make reports after incidents and events.
The risk with reactive reporting is that it doesn’t instill much confidence in family members because such reports are not comprehensive, they may lack relevant context, or end up being word-of-mouth passed down at the end of shifts. By adopting modern eldercare technologies, residential care facilities can provide visibility into the quality of care that residents receive. This visibility also empowers family members to know that their loved ones are getting the best possible care.
Why Families Should Consider Modern Eldercare Facilities When Aging in Place Isn’t Possible
When people think of modern eldercare facilities, they may picture a location with activities, cutting-edge resources and entertainment, and top-of-the-line private and communal areas that greatly differ from the traditional bleak image of nursing homes of generations past.
Such visualization is not wrong because many facilities are moving toward better aesthetics as a way to enhance care. For instance, a care facility called Lantern of Chagrin Valley shifted toward a therapeutic approach with its 1940s façade within the hallways — where each residential room’s exterior is a replica of a house front, often with a full porch and rocking chairs. The facility even went as far as installing a “grassy” floor and blue walls and ceilings to replicate the sky.
This therapeutic aesthetic is ideal for Alzheimer’s or dementia residents — the familiarity lessens confusion and brings comfort.
However, the aesthetics alone don’t address care quality, and a therapeutic-focused aesthetic doesn’t provide fresh alternatives to legacy solutions that continue to disappoint staff, residents, and a care system striving to improve.
At the core, modern eldercare facilities embrace new technology that enables care teams to provide better care. These emerging technologies, like Sage, offer new alerting solutions that capture information submitted by both the resident and caregiver.
Unlike the “tried and true” methodology of charting and word-of-mouth communication, Sage’s platform enables caregivers to communicate and file reports in real-time. Simply put, Sage provides visibility into the quality of care to eliminate the possibility of neglect, enables family members to gain visibility into the quality of care, and helps the decision-makers at long-term care facilities to make data-driven decisions on day-to-day operations and longer-term planning.
The data collected with Sage can be accessed in dashboards that provide a breakdown of the types of alerts made by each resident, the reason for the alerts, and the amount of time it took the caregiver to respond and resolve the alert. Alerts allow care teams and the facility administration to track and observe trends for each resident.
These discernible patterns may be utilized to identify areas for improvement, increase the quality of treatment, and, where necessary, adjust the cost of care. This information further enables care teams to provide visibility into the care residents receive for their worried loved ones.
Sage’s Platform Enables Facilities to Embrace Modern Eldercare
Therapeutic approaches can only go so far. The truly modern eldercare facilities need to start embracing data to alleviate the fears and concerns so many people have regarding getting older, as well as the concerns that people have about caring for their aging loved ones.
Sage’s eldercare tech delivers data-driven insights that could aid trendspotting, pattern recognition, and proactive care for the aging adults in your care. Sage’s technology also empowers your facility to keep and provide reliable records that can be reviewed in the event of incidents rather than relying on oral testimony that can be disputed.