Agencies such as the Indiana CHOICE Home Health Care Program that provide care for the aging are receiving cuts to their budget, which could potentially put senior citizens at risk.
A governmental study shows that for every 1,000 senior citizens in Indiana, two receive medical care in their homes rather than being forced to live in a nursing home. Mississippi is the only other state to have fewer in-home care recipients, putting Indiana at the 49th spot in the country.
Even though there are so few people who receive in-home services, it is one of the best ways for the elderly to receive care, according to Kerry Conway, the Executive Director of the Area 10 Agency on Aging.
“It’s your basic win-win,” Conway said, “because not only does it keep them out of the long-term care facility, and if you look at the surveys, the vast majority of people don’t want to go to a long-term care facility, it also is less expensive.”
The failure to provide sufficient home and community-based care is in fact a violation of a person’s civil rights, according to John Cardwell of the Indiana Home Care Task Force, who says there have been court decisions in other states based on this issue.
In addition to a humanitarian aspect, Cardwell says there is a strong psychological angle to keeping a senior citizen healthier in the comfort of their own home.
“One of the big challenges in terms of mental health,” he said, “is keeping a person independent in terms of what’s going on in the person’s psychological realm, and home care is one heck of a great tool for doing that.”
Although these budget cuts to home health care agencies will make their services harder to come by, Cardwell and Conway are hopeful that Indiana will allocate resources to allow the elderly the choice of home care over nursing homes and institutions.