Half of Older Adults Need Help with Daily Activities

According to a new study from researchers from the University of Michigan and the Urban Institute nearly half of older adults‰ÛÓ18 million people‰ÛÓhave difficulty or get help with daily activities. In all, 8,245 people, analyzed from Medicare enrollment files, were included in the 2011 National Health and Aging Trends Study. One in four lived in either a supportive care setting (15 percent) or a nursing home (10 percent). Low income individuals with severe disability received a disproportionate share of help with three or more activities in settings other than nursing homes. Nearly all had at least one potential informal care network member‰ÛÓfamily or household member, or close friend‰ÛÓand the average network size was four people. Older adults who lived in the community reported receiving more than five hours a day of care on average. About 70 percent of those getting help received assistance from family, friends and other unpaid caregivers, while about 30 percent received paid care. Researchers concluded that policies to improve long-term care services and supports and reduce unmet needs could benefit both older adults and those who care for them. Source: University of Michigan News.