Kristen’s mother, Dorothy, receives about twelve hours of state-funded home care each week. So far this has allowed Dorothy the opportunity to remain living at home, rather than a nursing home, and provides Kristen with the time and freedom she needs for secular work and caring for her family.
Meanwhile, Jackie, 47-year old mother of three, is struggling to balance her family life with the responsibilities of caring for her elderly father. “I’d like to focus on my children but I barely see them these days,” Jackie explains sadly. “I’m always at my dad’s house, caring for him instead.” State funding for home care services has been steadily declining in Massachusetts, where Jackie lives. As her father requires more time and care, Jackie’s resources become increasingly depleted.
State-Funded Assistance: the Good and the Bad
There are three major programs for home care in Massachusetts: a basic program, and two enhanced programs that provide higher levels of service. As with most state-funded programs, each has income limits and co-pays. Other restrictions may limit families on which home care agencies they can work with, which may mean losing out on home care systems or home care software that provide superior levels of supervision.
As of December 15th, 2012, there were 1,104 elderly persons on the waiting list for home care and enhanced programs, according to Al Norman, executive director of Mass Home Care. Norman is actively urging the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services to reduce the wait list, which would mean fewer seniors ending up in nursing homes.
Unfortunately, financial funding is tight. “If we had additional resources, we would be able to serve everyone,” remarks Ann L. Hartstein, secretary of elder affairs, adding, “That’s not the reality of the fiscal situation.”
Harstein explains that home care is assigned on the basis of where it can be best used or most needed, but this type of client assessment leaves many feeling discriminated against and hopeless. “Waiting lists are a chronic condition,” says Al Norman. “We can’t seem to shake it off – like a bad case of pneumonia.”
Home Care Systems Help More Seniors Stay at Home
Our nation’s elderly population is going to continue increasing on a daily basis. Now is the time for state governments to make the necessary financial adjustments so that more seniors can enjoy home care and home care software.
As more elderly persons wish to remain living at home as they age, it will become even more imperative for home care agencies to utilize dependable home care systems and home care software which allows their clients to maintain a sense of control and independence. Home care systems are also the best way for families to stay connected and involved in their elderly loved one’s daily care, even when careers or children keep them busy elsewhere.
While funding for home care may be an issue for some states, many others are doing everything possible to keep seniors home and out of long-term care facilities. More and more home care agencies are also realizing the value of home care systems and home care software, such as provided by ClearCare, and offering real-time visibility to patient point-of-care.
Kristen, mentioned at the outset, is grateful for home care and the home care software that allows her mother to live safely in her own home. Like many others who appreciate home care, Kristen speaks out at community events in order to raise awareness of the need for more financial funding so that others – like Jackie - can benefit as well.