The home care industry can certainly celebrate that it is the number one job creator in the country, mostly because of the Baby Boomer generation that is now retiring. As the demographics of the United States population changes and a growing percentage are considered elderly, that means more men and women will face various health and physical challenges and require assistance. More of these aging seniors prefer to age in place, or remain home, and that means greater demand for home care services.
However, the federal government has cut reimbursement rates for these services through Medicaid, initially as a way to help pay for the Affordable Care Act of 2010, but it has constantly brought up potential new cuts seemingly almost every year there’s a budget crisis. Coupled with a growing vocal chorus of people demanding higher wages for these home care workers, making it appear as though agency owners are greedy and ruthless, it has helped create an atmosphere of distrust, animosity, and even spite.
It’s difficult enough for the home care industry to help provide positive, supportive care for seniors and disabled adults at home, but fighting an onslaught of misrepresentations, misconceptions, and even slander makes it difficult to help this growing population of aging men and women realize this is truly the best option that allows them to remain at home.
According to The Boston Globe documentary short opinion piece, Home health care: It’s a grim world with victims on both sides, by Scott LaPierre:
“Shocked that some of the aides she hired were unqualified, uncaring — and worse — she eventually did what she normally does for a living: Start reporting to see if there was a story to tell.
There was. She found it in court documents and in personal tales of abuse and neglect by home health aides.
She also found the story reached as far away as Ghana, where a lot of home care workers originate, most of them well-intentioned, seeking only to send money home and give their families a decent life.
In the documentary short above, we meet victims on both sides of the equation.”
The overall perception people may have about home care may lead them to try and take it upon themselves to look after aging parents or other family members. While that may seem fine for some, experience goes a long way toward providing a positive, safe, and worthwhile environment for seniors as they begin to deal with health issues and physical limitations.
Agencies and caregivers, while in growing demand for these services, appear to face an uphill battle for positive public opinion and support.