The Medical Minute: Home health care coming of age

November 13, 2002

Census figures show that 9.2 million, or 31 percent, of people over age 65 live alone. By 2020, it is estimated that that number will grow to 15.2 million. Three quarters of older Americans who live alone are women. Almost half are just above the poverty line. Being alone increases the risk of poor nutrition and nursing home admission. Many trends are combining with the effect that the aging population will come to rely on home health care agencies more than prior generations. The National Association of Home Care estimates 8 million Americans currently receive acute or long term care in the home. As with many aspects of life, advance planning can reduce the stress. It's usually easier to make decisions when there's no crisis. It's not fun to plan for being less independent, but it beats being unprepared for the day when home care is needed. Information is available from most Area Agencies on Aging and through Pennsylvania's Department of Aging.
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Last Updated March 19, 2009