Boomers who anticipate aging in place should take note: Communities, government and the public and private sectors will have to make major changes to accommodate boomers' needs as they age and are able to do less for themselves, a report from MetLife predicts.
The "The MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0: Rethinking Solutions to the Home Care Challenge" focuses on the over-65 set.
"Wherever older individuals live, whether in their own homes or in a care facility, the setting may be inefficient for many people, since a person's need for care fluctuates as medical conditions come and go, often resulting in the need to move back and forth between multiple care settings," Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D., director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute, said in a press release. She called for integration of services to limit stresses on boomers and their future caregivers.
The report identified health care, supplies and transportation as industries with new business opportunities for integration. Furthermore, a new industry, "assistive technology," will arise as boomers try to connect their homes to networks that monitor their health.
MetLife's report notes that the assistance provided in an integrated system isn't very different from what is available at a nursing home or assisted living facility, but that it's "distributed over a community instead of within a building," with redundancies built in to ensure the system runs smoothly.
The report identified five steps to improve aging-in-place technology and practices.
- Homes are prepared for aging in place through individual investment, subsidies, and incentives.
- Business investment opportunities are recognized and encouraged as providers prepare to work in coordination, seeing opportunities as relationships with intersecting market sectors rather than narrow niches.
- Connections for care management, social interactions, wellness, and transportation systems are developed.
- Care management is designed to dispatch services when needed.
- Care delivery models are developed to utilize available paid caregiver resources effectively to meet the needs of individuals in the community.
These steps will are designed to "minimize risk, prevent illness, reduce cost, and improve caregiver and care recipient outcomes," according to the report.