Psychosocial and Fiscal Aspects For Home Sharing For The Elderly

The challenges of post-retirement for many elderly citizens can be significant. Especially, those with compromised activities of daily living (ADL), while attempting to maintain their independence in their own homes. According to the National Center of Health Statistics, ADL’s refer to activities related to personal care. Which may include bathing or showering, dressing, getting in or out of bed or a chair, using the toilet, and eating. In a National Health Interview Survey respondents were asked about needing the help of another person with personal care needs because of a physical, mental, or emotional problem. Persons are considered to have an ADL limitation if any condition(s) causing the respondent to need help with the specific activities was chronic (NCHS, 2006).

As the baby boom generation grows older, where to live after retirement can be daunting task, if un-prepared (psychologically, mentally and/or socially) for post-retirement. Furthermore, independent living as one grows older, can be a rewarding experience, if a medical and social infrastructure have been properly entertained (Administration on Aging). Since 1997, Administration of Aging has conducted nationwide interviews to quantitify the impact of ADL’s on Medicare beneficiaries.

According to the NCHS, in 2005 there were a total of 42 million Medicare recipients. In addition, expenditures for 2005 totalled $213 billion (which comprised several categories). Among the expedinture of $213 billion, $18.5 billion was to subsidize skilled nursing facitilies. Consequently, since 1970, Medicare expenditures [initially $0.2 billion] have steadily risen on average 2% to 5% per year, during the past 25 years. Fiscally, this trend is extremely alarming. While the crux of the baby boomers have not began to become eligible for Medicare.

For the past seventeen years, the Citizens Community Services, a nonprofit group located in Babylon, New York have provided home-sharing services for it’s elderly citizens. Citizens Community Services also partners with Babylon Home Sharers in the event, a problem arises. In Babylon, New York approximately 340 elderly people participate in home sharing programs in over 100 homes in the Long Island area of New York.

As affordable housing becomes scarce, programs such as this, help applicants find a suitable match for a roomate. In retrospect, the homeowner who offers his or her home to the applicant, receive rental income and possible companionship. For homeowners with compromised ADL’s, this unique opportunity offers some assistance, without giving up their independence. Screening requirements for applicants and homeowners are rigorous.

As other states look at developing their own unique models of home-sharing, due to available federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Psycho-social models embedded in theory, will become more prevalent. This will be primarily due to the changing demographics of this population. Embracing the range of cultures, increased migration of workers and their families, and religous considerations, would be considered.

References

Administration on Aging. [Online]. Housing: Independent Living. Retrieved from http://www.aoa.gov/eldfam/Housing/Independent_Living/.asp on November 11, 2006.

National Center For Health Statistics. [Online]. Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/nchsdefs/adl.htm on November 28, 2006.

Shaman, D. (June 15, 1997). In Babylon, a Home-Sharing Program for the Elderly. New York Times.

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