As 2021 comes to a close, we hope any caregiver reading this has met the challenges of senior caregiving feeling prepared and rewarded. The landscape of senior care services is a broad and oftentimes confusing one, which is why it can make good sense to seek out the guidance of a placement agency like Senior Care Authority. We are experts at navigating complex issues surrounding the care of elderly loved ones and always have our finger on the pulse of our industry. With that in mind, we are seeing some 2022 trends in senior care that might affect the decisions you may make for yourself and your loved ones. Let’s look at a few of them….
Compliance Challenges Will Be at the Forefront
Perhaps no demographic was or has been more affected by the pandemic than the elderly, particularly those in assisted living situations. While vaccinations are now widely available, residential care communities have had to adapt to the pandemic in ways that are probably permanent. Regulatory compliance will remain daunting. Strict staffing requirements for skilled nursing facilities will remain in place, and more infection control requirements will likely be enforced. Staffing will continue to be an issue as well, as caregivers struggle to manage priorities, from caring for children and other family members to juggling more demanding work schedules while striving to protect their own health.
Care Trumps Hospitality
Assisted living for seniors has always included a blend of healthcare and hospitality, with a debate over which aspect is more important. Covid-19 seems to have settled the matter. Today senior living is viewed more as a healthcare product. Before the pandemic, many higher-end assisted living communities touted value propositions such as five-star dining experiences, massage rooms, fitness centers, and pools, among other amenities. The pandemic has shifted that emphasis, with many communities making huge investments in clinical capabilities and medical personnel, focusing primarily on care and safety.
When asked, most seniors say they’d prefer to age in place, that is, stay in their own homes for as long as they’re physically and mentally able. For many, senior villages are the answer. First started 20 years ago, a senior village is an organization that, for a small yearly fee paid by participating seniors, coordinates the delivery of senior care services, supervision, and social events that make aging at home not only possible but safe and enjoyable. The village also helps with transportation to medical appointments and other tasks. Today, there are over 200 villages around the U.S., with another 150 in the early stages of development.
One trend that has obviously taken on greater importance to the elderly due to Covid-19 is no-contact care. As doctors and nurses provide higher levels of attention, they must do so without endangering themselves or exposing their patients to infection. One way this can be achieved is through telehealth solutions — communication by video or audio chat software between patient and provider, allowing for noncritical healthcare delivery in a safe but personal manner.
Another innovation that’s enabling no-contact care is HealthBot, a small robot that can manage a wide range of tasks for seniors, including meal delivery, housekeeping, and reminders to take medication. To a certain degree, these “bots” take the place of human caregivers who may become sick and, as a result, infect their elderly clients.
Technology will certainly have a continued effect on how the services for senior care are delivered. But one thing it will never be able to replace is a family’s important role in the care of its senior loved ones.
To find out more about 2022 senior care trends that may affect you and your loved ones, reach out to Senior Care Authority today.