In a report published by the National Institute on Aging, it was said that we as a planet are living longer and healthier lives. And although this is a testament to better diets, better living conditions and an overall better understanding of the human body and what it needs to live to its fullest, an older population also carries significant challenges with it.
“Longer lives must be planned for,” the report reminds us. “Societal aging may affect economic growth and many other issues, including the sustainability of families, the ability of states and communities to provide resources for older citizens, and international relations.”
Despite those challenges, we as a society should consider the fact that we are living longer as a true success story. And the more that we know about this growing demographic, the better we can prepare for its future. So here are 10 facts about our nation’s aging population and the caring people that take care of them, courtesy of the National Private Duty Association:
1. In 2011, more than 8,000 people turned 65 every day. By the end of the year the senior population of America reached almost 49 million. By 2025, it will grow to nearly 72 million. (Source: The Department of Health and Human Services and the State Department)
2. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the population age 85 and over could grow from 5.3 million in 2006 to nearly 21 million by 2050. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
3. Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19.0 yea
rs (20.3 years for females and 17.4 years for males). (Source: Administration on Aging)
4. Several studies have found that the overwhelming majority of seniors – 89 percent, according to an AARP survey, for example – want to age in their own homes for as long as possible. (Source: AARP survey)
5. When compared to the costs associated with a retirement community, private duty home care can be a very affordable option for many seniors. The average annual cost of one nursing home resident is $69,715. The average annual cost of one assisted living facility resident is $36,372. (Source: MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Assisted Living Costs)
6. Seniors who want to remain in their homes can often do so cost effectively with a few hours of care a week. For example, 20 hours of companionship home care a week costs approximately $1,500 a month or an average annual cost of $18,000. (Hourly Rate Based On NPDA State of Caregiving Industry Survey)
7. While still an emerging industry, private duty home care providers have shown that they have staying power. Approximately 70 percent have been in business five years or more. (Source: NPDA State of Caregiving Industry Survey)
8. The national average cost for care ranges from $18.75 per hour for companionship services to $22.37 per hour for home health services. (Source: NPDA State of Caregiving Industry Survey)
9. Most private duty home care agencies offer several levels of service for their clients. These include homemaker services such as cooking, laundry and house cleaning; and personal care including feeding, bathing, dressing and grooming. Ninety percent of NPDA agencies offer Alzheimer’s care. (Source: NPDA State of Caregiving Industry Survey)
10. When hiring caregivers, private duty agencies place great emphasis on selecting individuals who have the right personal traits to provide high quality, relationship-based care. The most important traits that home care agencies look for in their caregivers are: compassion, positive attitudes, communication skills and patience.