The fulfilling of requirements and special needs that are specific to senior citizens and the elderly is known as elderly care. It is often also known as elder-care or aged care.
Elderly care includes services like day care for adults, long term care, nursing facilities, hospice as well as assisted living and home care. Globally, elderly care could include a wide variety of services. It could also differ due to the varying cultural views on health care related to the elderly. Because of this, the concept of elderly care cannot be limited to a single practice or single kind of care. For example; it is a common traditional practice in Asia for the young and adults of a family to care for their elderly instead of enlisting the services of government established facilities for elderly care.
Senior citizens and the elderly often have specific social and personal needs related to their day to day activities and medical care. But they also wish to age in a dignified manner and lead a life with dignity. For this reason, services related to housing, activities, employee trainings and other such services would need to centered around the customer. This is what differentiates elderly care from other forms of medical or health care. Also, a sizable portion of the medical and health care provided to the elderly at a global level still falls under the purview of the unpaid market sector. Elderly care related services can vary from country to country and continues to change at a rapid pace. Even if medical or health related services for the elderly were to be compared within a single country, elderly care would still have changes depending on the region where the care is being provided. However, the one trend that remains common is the amount of health expenditure for the elderly.
This amount of expenditure is found to be the most as compared to expenditure for other age groups of individuals. This observation shows that elderly care might be somewhat similar all around the world. As pressure continues to build up of limiting fertility worldwide and to decrease the size of the family, the proportion of elderly individuals continues to grow worldwide. In the traditional meaning of the term, family members and friends have been providing elderly care for the senior citizens within the privacy of their homes. However, in the modern era, state run institutions or charities have been known to provide medical and health care to the elderly. This change in trend can be attributed to the reduction in size of the family as well as the improved longevity of elderly individuals.
The change in trend can also be attributed to families dispersing geographically.
Women empowerment , education and women seeking jobs outside the home have also led to this change in need for elderly care to be provided at institutions. North America and Europe led the changes in elderly care, however Asian countries are now witnessing the changes as well. In most developed countries in the west, elderly care and nursing facilities are provided at family care residential homes. There also exist assisted living facilities, continued care facilities, retirement homes, nursing facilities etc that specialize in providing elderly care to the geriatrics. Family care homes are residential homes which have the required support built into the design of the house. They also have supervisory medical professional on site who work for medical agencies. These could also be individuals who provide room and board services in additional to rehabilitation services and personal care in a family based environment.
Medical and non-medical home health care are different. Individuals providing non-medical care are not medical professionals. Non-medical care is normally not covered by medical insurance policies or public funding. In the United States, 67% of the 1 MM or so geriatric residents who stay in assisted living institutions pay for the non-medical care personally. The remaining 33% have familial help or help from friends and other agencies of the state. Unless and until skill nursing care is required and provided to by certified skilled nursing homes or by certified skilled nursing agencies, Medicare does not provide for their care.
Medicare however, will pay for skilled care on the condition that the elderly individual satisfies the criteria of the Medicare home health benefits. In the US, 32 states fund assisted living facilities related expenses through program waivers under Medicaid. Other professionals who may need to be involved in the elderly care are police officers, social workers, nurses and lawyers.