assisted livingIt used to be that licensed home care agencies would care for all or nearly all their clients in private homes. But increasingly home care agencies are being hired to provide home care for seniors living in long-term care facilities including retirement homes and assisted living.

In some ways it’s a strange marriage. Seniors move into assisted living presumably to have their care needs met. So why would anyone living in an assisted living facility need to hire a home care agency? The short answer is that often the facility can’t provide the individualized services a client wants. It can be a good arrangement however for all concerned, with our supervisors and caregivers working hand-in-hand with the family and assisted living staff.

We know all the assisted living facilities in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and most of them are wonderful places. Dedicated and caring people work there. Seniors sometimes find that the community an assisted living offers outweighs the benefits of remaining at home. In some cases, moving to a facility can also be less expensive than maintaining a home. But not all is rosy with all assisted living facilities. A PBS Frontline special, Life and Death in Assisted Living aired on July 30, 2013. In it, Catherine Hawes, Director of the Program on Aging and Long-Term Care Policy at Texas A&M University reports that assisted living has experienced tremendous growth. “Suddenly, you go from 10,000 or 15,000 facilities and maybe 200,000 people to almost 1 million people during the ’90s, she said. “During that one 10-year period, you had this tremendous growth in terms of the number of facilities. It’s just exploded. In time, assisted living residents become sicker, have greater care needs and need more medication supervision.”

The assisted living industry has grown tremendously and is an essential option for seniors who do not want to remain at home any longer. The growth sometimes leads to seniors living in facilities with more care needs than the facility can provide. So home care agencies help out.

The Frontline report includes interviews from specialists on all sides of the issue. To find out more go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/life-and-death-in-assisted-living/