The current economic downturn has affected all of us in many ways. But one segment of society affected in particular has not had many headlines — the senior population. In particular, many seniors who would normally be selling their homes to help finance a move to a retirement community or assisted-living home are finding the crisis affecting their ability to sell.
“It is part of the hidden problem of the recession,” said Larry Minnix, president of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. “Every neighborhood, every family’s got them.”
According to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing and Care Industry, “Across the country, occupancy rates for independent and assisted-living facilities have fallen slightly in the last year, by about 2 percent through the middle of 2008.”
Especially hard-hit areas include Florida and the upper-Midwest, where vacancy rates at some care facilities have reached 20 to 30 percent. Some families and retirees are turning to adult care services, according to a recent New York Times article.
“Providers say their business has spiked as people look for an alternative to continuing care or home aides to provide food, companionship and therapeutic services.”
It is essential that families, friends, and other members of a senior’s support team help to ensure that the senior is looking into all possible ways that they can remain safe, secure, and independent in their own homes.
Eldercare experts predict that family caregivers will be asked to pick up the slack in caring for elderly loved ones. This is where the alternative of hiring a professional caregiver will be beneficial, not only to the senior family member, but also to the family caregiver who may not have the experience or ability to provide good, quality care.
In tough economic times, there are usually choices and options available. Sometimes it just takes a bit of research to find the best solution for seniors and their loved ones, such as hiring professional caregivers to help bridge the gap.