Home Care is Top Senior Service After Recession, Providers Agree

The recession boosted the attractiveness of home-based services more than any other type of senior care, according to the vast majority of senior living providers recently polled by Perkins Eastman.

The international design, planning and consulting firm surveyed about 200 senior living stakeholders, including industry consultants and leaders at major not-for-profits, primarily continuing care retirement communities. When asked what services and housing models have become more attractive in the post-recession period, 84% named home-based services.

At-home community networks also are more attractive now, according to 63% of respondents. That showing made it the second most common response, tied with memory support in assisted living.

The increasing prominence of home health care in recent years has been driven by several developments, including Affordable Care Act policies that tie Medicare and Medicaid payments more closely to coordinated services across the acute and post-acute landscape. This has driven consolidation in the post-acute and home care market, as demonstrated by prominent deals like Kindred Healthcare’s acquisition of home health company Gentiva.

But the Perkins Eastman survey also suggests that providers are responding to how the recession changed consumer spending by shifting their focus to areas like home care that may be less costly than other options.

For instance, 61% of respondents said that the traditional continuing care retirement community model is endangered. Senior living stakeholders have observed that following the economic downturn that began in 2008, consumers have become more reluctant to part with large sums of money for an entrance fee at these CCRCs, even for the security of knowing they will have life care provided.

And this type of consumer behavior might be lasting, providers believe. When asked if the economic downturn has permanently changed people’s outlook on senior housing and services, 61% said yes.

Click here to access complete survey results.