Colleen, 67, receives support from VANTAGE Home Wellness Solutions 3 times a week. With the help of her health aide, Colleen is able to stay independent at the home that has been in her family for decades.
The oldest of 4 siblings, Colleen’s family moved to Akron, Ohio when she was in the seventh grade. Since then, her brothers and sisters have moved to different parts of the state and country.
In 1980, Colleen moved to California with her roommate. She had never really traveled before but decided to throw caution to the wind. She enjoyed living close to the ocean and mountains and the people she met.
Within a year of her move, Colleen had to say goodbye to California and move back to Akron to help take care of her ill grandmother. Her mother was working and not feeling well when her father passed away. She asked Colleen to move back into the family home. She began taking care of her mother by cooking dinners and cleaning the house.
Colleen has been in her home since 1980. Today, she still enjoys living there and is close to her neighbors. “We’re close and we look out for each other, and that makes it very nice.”
Help at Home
Colleen moved back home to help her family members age in place. As she grew older, she realized that she needed some help to stay independent. She has been a client of VANTAGE Aging (formerly Mature Services) for over 10 years.
At first, Colleen received household services. A VANTAGE team member would come to her home to clean and go to the grocery store. She also received home-delivered meals from the Meals on Wheelsprogram.
As time went on, Colleen received help from a home health aide, who provided assistance during times that she needed help in the shower or washing her hair. She said that her home health aide pays attention to her individual needs and works hard to provide the best service possible. For that, she thinks the world of her (aide).
A Need That Affects Us All
Home health services are often not something we think about until we’re faced with the need for them. However, whether it is ourselves or our loved ones, the majority of us will require help at home at some point.
70% of those who live past age 65 will eventually need some form of long-term care.
For many older adults, small supports help them stay at home without prematurely entering a senior facility living. This prolongs independence and saves the community money.
On average, the cost of VANTAGE Home Wellness Solutions for 1 year is $2,600, compared to $95,995 for 1 year in a nursing home. These types of expenses are often covered by Medicaid and Medicare tax dollars.
While the cost savings of home health care are significant, the value of being able to remain independent goes far beyond a dollar amount. Through small supports, many seniors can stay at home – where they want to be.
Small Supports, Big Impact
Throughout her life, Colleen has been a caretaker for many. Now, she looks after her pet bird Baby Blue, named after its teal coloring.
Baby Blue keeps Colleen company when she’s home alone. If she had to move into an assisted living center, she would likely not be able to take her bird with her. Because Colleen can live independently with the help of VANTAGE, she can enjoy some of the simple enjoyments of staying at home, like pet ownership.
When asked what Colleen would do without Home Wellness services, she replied:
“I’d be totally lost. I have trouble walking, so I’d have a hard time running the sweeper. I’d have to be extremely careful to dust. (My home health aide) comes in and runs the sweeper, scrubs my floors, dusts, changes my bed, does my laundry, and she’ll run errands and go the grocery store. That’s appreciated very much. If I didn’t have any of that, I don’t know what I’d do.”
Home health care is a great option for many older adults wishing to age in place. However, funding for many of these programs has significantly decreased, including VANTAGE Home Wellness Solutions.
Currently, we are unable to help 250 seniors who are on a list in need of our services. They are left waiting because we cannot afford to provide them with the care that they need.