The world is rapidly changing, and nowhere is that fact more evident than in the world of home care. With an aging population, it’s estimated that the number of 65 year-olds and above will nearly double by 2050, creating a serious senior care gap that needs to be addressed in the coming decades.
In order to address the elder care crisis and combat the effects of senior isolation, many researchers are now focusing their efforts on a brand new kind of caregiving: The kind provided by robots and artificial intelligences, that is. Although that may sound more like the Jetsons than real life, there are already preliminary models of robot caretakers for seniors – and they’re progressing faster than you might think.
The Future of In-Home Caregiving
Artificial intelligences and robots are becoming more advanced with every passing year. When initial prototypes of AvatarMind’s promising “iPal” robot were introduced during the World Robotics Conference in Beijing, for example, attendees were impressed by their unique “socially assistive” programs, which allow the robots to monitor health signs, offer companionship, and provide cognitive stimulation. Although most tech experts predict that it could take decades for an affordable robot caretaker to hit the market, companies around the world are investing in similar robotics programs.
So where would something like the iPal leave human caregivers in the future? Based on a recent study at the Pew Research Center, most people are still unfamiliar with the concept of robotic assistants for in-home senior care. While many survey respondents expressed excitement and curiosity when told about this prospect, others – especially seniors – had serious reservations.
Compassionate Caregiving: Why Empathy Matters
Even after talking through the pros and cons, the majority of respondents agreed that there was just no substitute for human touch, or for the genuine compassion offered by a home caregiver. With more than 54% of all survey respondents specifically mentioning the need for human-to-human interaction and empathy, it seems that in-home caregiving still provides unique benefits that are beyond the reach of our most sophisticated AIs.
Additionally, most of the Pew Research Center respondents noted that they would be far more comfortable with a robot caretaker if a human being could monitor its actions, and also provide regular companionship. Because human caregivers have a better grasp of complex ethical decisions and interpersonal responsibilities, they may always be better equipped to handle the wide range of situations that come up during home care. In other words, perhaps the ideal combination for future home care will involve both robots and human beings, working together to help seniors age in place.
How We Support Caregivers
It’s clear that compassion and empathy are still the defining features of a great senior caregiver, and those very qualities may “future proof” this profession. But because of the frantic pace at most senior care and nursing home facilities, too many of today’s caregivers report that they feel emotionally exhausted and unable to provide adequate companionship.
At Homewatch CareGivers, our proven home care model allows caregivers to interact with seniors in their own homes, and give them the full time and attention they need. Our franchise owners are empowered to offer meaningful support for their caregivers, rather than add to the demands of compassion fatigue – which results in better overall care quality. With flexible scheduling that makes it easy for our caregivers to focus on a few clients, it’s possible for all seniors to get the care they deserve, in the comfort of home.
Want to learn more? Call (844) 220-0887 today to learn about our home care franchise opportunity!
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Twitter: Home care is now recognized as a crucial part of the healthcare continuum, meaning that the demand for these services will continue to grow in the future:
The healthcare industry can sometimes be slow to accept change, even though its technology, techniques, and tools have all been improving at an exponential rate. In the past, health professionals tended to view home-based care services as unnecessary for a standard senior health plan, and government programs like Medicare Advantage did not formally recognize their value either.
However, with a record number of seniors living in the United States today, the healthcare industry is starting to realize the importance of care services in the home, especially for the elderly. In addition to Medicare Advantage recently expanding their benefits to include in-home care options, a recent report from the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) explicitly notes that the home will be the center of care delivery in the future.
Connecting Healthcare with the Home
In their report, AHHQI lays out four key pillars that all healthcare providers – and non-medical in-home caregivers – should be aiming to follow in the upcoming decades. One of those pillars is to “provide seamlessly connected and coordinated care,” which the authors note should be a “top priority” for every provider and caregiver in the health care continuum.
As it currently stands, doctors may have fragmented records about senior health needs, and a limited ability to communicate across different health systems. Meanwhile, in-home caregivers and home health providers work with seniors away from the clinical setting, gaining a wealth of knowledge about their actual day-to-day needs, preferences, and concerns. Recognizing the incredible value of these relationships fostered at home, the AHHQI recommends that healthcare providers connect directly with caregiving professionals in the future, which will vastly improve quality of care for seniors.
The Value of Aging in Place
In addition to improving overall healthcare quality, research shows that home care plays an important role in providing emotional support and security for seniors. In 2018, an AARP survey found that over 75% of all adults over the age of 50 would prefer to stay in their current residence as they age, but that many are concerned they will not be able to age in place comfortably, or have access to proper emergency and medical care if they live alone.
Here at Homewatch CareGivers®, our franchise owners address gaps in the healthcare continuum by providing consistent, affordable caregiving services for seniors. From personal care to transportation to companionship, our model can give seniors a fully-customized care plan, and allow them to age in place without worrying about the future. In doing so, we hope to bridge the gap between the doctor’s office and the home – and to give seniors access to more connected, comprehensive care options than ever before.
Do you think our senior care franchise opportunity could be right for you? Give us a call at (844) 220-0887 today to explore your options.