Updated: Mar 2, 2022
When we were little, we learned to treat our elders with respect. We are taught to offer our seats on public transit, help open the doors for them or serve our elders with food first. Our seniors have worked tirelessly throughout their lives to create a foundation for the future of their families. However, the pandemic has shown the world that there is more to be done to take care of our seniors, and we must take action from the hard lessons we have learned.
Why do seniors not want to live in long-term care homes?
A study conducted by Campaign Research Inc in 2020 with 1,003 participants who were 55 years of age and older and resided in Ontario highlighted some insightful information (CNW, 2020). Out of the respondents, 91% want to continue to live in their own homes for as long as they can; 95% believe that during the pandemic, receiving care at home is the safest environment (CNW, 2020).
Out of the respondents, "0% intend to move into a long-term care facility" (CNW, 2020).
Many baby boomers in Canada see that living in their homes and receiving care at home is the best choice. A Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) survey highlights that roughly 91% of baby boomers want to live independently and be in their neighbourhood/home for as long as they can (CBC News, 2013).
According to a study conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, it indicates that “88% of Americans would prefer to receive any ongoing living assistance they need as they age at home or with loved ones” (The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 2021).
Many seniors are afraid of being alone in long-term care and nursing homes without their friends and family. For many seniors, their loved ones are the most important, and for many nursing and long-term care homes, it may be far from the senior’s family, which results in less frequent visits from their loved ones. When seniors move into nursing or long-term care homes, it often means that they are also moving away from their loved ones and their community.
Over half of seniors worry about no longer having control over their lives. One of the biggest concerns for seniors when moving to a long-term care home is that their independence diminishes. Seniors in long-term care or nursing homes don't cook their meals, and they have little to no control over what they eat. When it comes to long-term care homes, there are schedules that seniors have to abide by. There are also rules that they have to follow.
Statistics show that 87% of seniors “feel a lot younger than their actual age” (Ontario, 2017).
With that in mind, many don’t want to live in long-term care or nursing homes because they think they can take care of themselves.
Source/Attribution: Visual Capitalist
How the pandemic influenced our senior’s preference
The pandemic has altered our lives, and it has brought attention to the world on the horrifying problems that senior residents in long-term care homes have endured.
The New York Times predicts that 33% of the lives lost due to COVID-19 was from nursing homes in the US. In Canada, the lives lost in long-term care homes roughly accounts for 69% of fatalities relating to COVID-19 (McCullough, 2021).
Last year in April, when the pandemic was at its height, the Canadian Armed Forces were deployed in Ontario to 7 long-term care homes where COVID-19 outbreaks had occurred. The military reported "feces and vomit on floors and on the walls" (DeClerq, 2021). For others, they noticed that residents were force-fed, which caused "audible choking" (DeClerq, 2021). There were cockroach infestations, mould, fungus, and some patients were “crying for help with staff not responding” (DeClerq, 2021). These horrifying accounts have made seniors not want to live in these homes and have made their families not want to bring their loved ones to these homes.
What is home care?
There are different types of home care, such as home healthcare, personal care/companionship, and nursing care. Services in personal care can help with household chores/tasks, dressing, providing companionship, making meals, or bathing. Services in nursing care can help monitor vital signs, ventilator care, feeding tube care, helping to administer medications, and catheter care. Then there are the home healthcare services, like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and home health aide services.
Benefits for seniors receiving home healthcare
There are a variety of benefits for seniors when they receive home care. For many seniors, it provides them with a sense of comfort. They can sleep in their bed, use their kitchen, be in their living room, and be able to continue to do what they normally do.
For some, knowing that their loved one is there is very comforting to the senior. Seniors feel safe when they are with their loved ones, and the more seniors get to interact with their loved ones, it reduces the risk of the senior withdrawing. Unlike in nursing homes or in long-term care homes, where there are other patients, at home, the healthcare worker can focus on one patient and can offer individualized care.
Home healthcare provides our seniors with dignity and independence. Seniors getting to live in their own homes as they grow old can help build confidence and increase the senior’s well-being. Being at home allows seniors to make decisions for themselves. If they want to visit the store or walk around the park that day, they can. With home care, seniors can still have control of their daily life, and they are the ones that get to dictate when they want to sleep, eat, or watch television.
Home healthcare is a great and affordable alternative. The National Association of Home Care illustrates that nursing homes cost roughly $544 a day, while for home care services it is about $132 a day.
How we can help
To respect the wishes of our seniors means to listen to what they wish to do. For many seniors, it is to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. It is important to respect their wishes and do our best to make sure that they are happy.
Gaining customer feedback is very important for businesses because they gain insights into what steps they need to take to improve their customer's overall experience. Surveys are a great way to deploy questions to their patients. Pulse surveys are short, frequent surveys that can be tailored to specific topics to assess their change over time.
Below is a collection of sample questions from St. Patrick's Retirement Home (1) and an assessment of retirement homes by Peel Region (2).
Health Care (1):
Do you find the medical staff to be responsive?
Does the medical staff explain what they are doing to you and why?
Do you find the nursing staff is fair in their assessments?
I find the nurses treat me with dignity.
The nursing staff is good at listening to my needs.
These can help home healthcare agencies understand what needs improvement and what can be done to help enhance better quality of care.
Retainify helps to measure satisfaction by capturing customer experience by activity to identify what makes your customer happy, and what the business needs to improve on to increase net promoter score (NPS) and customer loyalty. Be informed and ready to take action as feedback and incidents are reported in real-time. Drive actionable insight from data and deliver on the customer service promise.
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CBC News. (2013, October 24). Canadian boomers want to stay in their homes as they age. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canadian-boomers-want-to-stay-in-their-homes-as-they-age-1.2224171
C-Care. (2015, August 27). Pros And Cons Of Home Care VS Long Term Care. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.c-care.ca/blog/home-care/pros-cons-home-care-vs-long-term-care/
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DeClerq, K. (2021, May 10). Military report details 'horrifying' conditions at two Toronto long-term care homes. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/military-report-details-horrifying-conditions-at-two-toronto-long-term-care-homes-1.5422006
CNW. (2020, August 07). New Poll Shows Over 90% of Ontario Seniors Want to Live at Home as They Age, and Want Government to Invest to Help Them do it. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/new-poll-shows-over-90-of-ontario-seniors-want-to-live-at-home-as-they-age-and-want-government-to-invest-to-help-them-do-it-857341964.html
Home, S. P. (2017). Resident Satisfaction Survey Report 2016 Results. St. Patricks Home of Ottawa. https://stpats.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/2016-Resident-Satisfaction-Survey-Full-Report-1.pdf.
Ireland, N., & Kalata, N. (2021, February 03). As COVID-19 exposes long-term care crisis, efforts grow to keep more seniors at home. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-ontario-government-home-care-long-term-care-1.5897858
Long Term Care, P. (2014). Long-Term Care Resident Satisfaction Survey. Peel Region. https://www.peelregion.ca/ltc/pdfs/2014-Survey.pdf.
M. (2020, August 31). The Benefits of Home Health Care for Seniors and Families. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://meetcaregivers.com/benefits-of-home-health-care/
McCullough, J. (2021, April 06). Opinion: Canada has failed nursing home residents during the pandemic. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/06/canada-covid-deaths-long-term-care-nursing-homes/
Ontario. (2017, November 2). Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.ontario.ca/page/aging-confidence-ontario-action-plan-seniors
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The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (2021, May 3). Long-Term Care in America: Americans Want to Age at Home. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://apnorc.org/projects/long-term-care-in-america-americans-want-to-age-at-home/
VNA. (2018, June 10). Top Reasons Seniors Prefer Home Health Care. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://ccvna.com/top-reasons-seniors-prefer-home-health-care/