Millions of Senior Citizens Ill-Prepared to Live Alone
Nearly 8 in 10 Americans (77%) are worried about the safety of their parent and/or grandparent living alone or with a spouse/partner, according to a new Caring.com report. Yet despite these concerns, the majority of children and grandchildren have not equipped their older loved one's home with safety features such as grab bars in the shower, raised toilet seats, an emergency response system and/or an entrance ramp.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.5 million adults 65 years and older are treated for unintentional fall injuries each year. While many of these injuries can be prevented by equipping senior citizens' homes with relatively inexpensive safety equipment, most are living without these features. In fact, in a recent Caring.com survey of adult children and grandchildren age 18 and older, these family members reported that among seniors living alone:
- 46% do not have grab bars in the shower
- 63% do not have a raised toilet seat
- 64% do not have an emergency response system
- 76% do not have an entrance ramp
- "People tend to wait until a concerning incident or tragedy happens to actually prepare themselves and their loved ones for old age," said Andy Cohen, CEO and founder of Caring.com. "That's a huge mistake because you're actually putting them at a bigger risk for injury."
Living without these items not only endangers a senior's personal well-being, but it could lead to high health-related costs down the line. The average hospital cost for a fall injury is about $35,000 and Medicare typically only covers about 78% of that, according to the CDC.
"Many of the basic safety features can be purchased for less than $1,000," said Cohen. "That's much more reasonable than being hit with a $10,000 hospital bill, and worse, having a parent or grandparent with a broken hip."
The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI) and can be seen in more detail here:
PSRAI obtained telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults living in the continental United States. Interviews were conducted by landline (1,000) and cell phone (1,000, including 595 respondents without a landline phone) in English and Spanish by Princeton Data Source, September 17-20 and October 1-4, 2015. Statistical results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the complete set of weighted data is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
CDC Data: http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/fallcost.html
With more than three million visitors per month, Caring.com is a leading senior care resource for family caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. A Bankrate company headquartered in San Mateo, CA, Caring.com provides helpful caregiving content, online support groups, and a comprehensive Senior Care Directory for the United States, with more than 85,000 consumer ratings and reviews and a toll-free senior living referral line at (800) 325-8591. Connect with Caring.com on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and/or YouTube.