The aging of the U.S. population should keep demand for elder care services growing.
Total revenue for skilled nursing home services, home health care, continuing care and assisted living facility stays could increase an average of 5.2 percent per year over the next few years, to about $320 billion by 2016, according to analysts at the Freedonia Group.
The Freedonia Group — a real market analysis firm based in Cleveland, not a fictional company in the Marx Brothers’ fictional land of Freedonia — said in a recent report that revenue should grow in spite of state and federal efforts to restrict spending on elder care.
The government will be encouraging more frail older people and older people with disabilities to get care at home and in the community, and to rely as much as possible on informal help from friends and relatives, the analysts said.
The government may have trouble increasing use of informal care beyond a certain point, because “a growing number of older adults either do not have family who are able to care for them, or simply prefer using professional care,” the analysts said.
But the push to control elder care costs means home health care spending and community-based care spending will probably grow faster than spending on nursing home care, the analysts said.