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New Survey Finds Adult Children Want Their Parents To Age At Home

CONTRIBUTOR Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

A senior ages at home with help from an in-home caregiver.

"For women of my generation, it was the 'juggling act.' Jobs, marriage, children, homes and aging parents were the balls we added, tossing them in the air as our lives filled up and praying they wouldn't come crashing down on our heads."~Willow BayAdult children want their parents to age at home. They worry about it. And they want to talk about it.Those were the conclusions of a recent national survey conducted by Senior Helpers—a worldwide provider of in-home senior care—to gather attitudes on aging parents and their eventual need for care.

Nearly 85% of baby boomers and Generation Xers surveyed responded that they would prefer for their parents and loved ones age at home, as opposed to in a professional senior care facility, said Chris Buitron, chief marketing officer of Senior Helpers. “It’s no secret that most seniors prefer to stay in their homes as they age, but we wanted to find out their adult children's attitudes on the topic.”

Some 60% of boomers admit they are concerned about juggling the responsibilities of caring for family with caring for aging parents and loved ones. Nevertheless, they still overwhelmingly said they would want them to age at home, with nearly 20 percent reporting they would want their parents to live with them as their parents grow old. Only 15% said they would want their parents to age in a senior care facility.

Additionally, 67% of boomers and Gen Xers reported they are comfortable talking to aging loved ones about long-term care options.

Nearly 60% said they feel when the elderly are cared for in their own homes, their experience is more positive than in an assisted living facility.

Buitron said Senior Helpers surveyed 1,000 men and women ages 45-64 across the nation. About 800 of them were surveyed through Google Insights, an arm of Google Analytic Solutions that allows businesses to survey consumers across the internet and on mobile devices with the goal of making more informed business decisions and understanding their marketing impact and the need for their services. The remainder were individuals who answered the survey on social media.

“This survey was taken to get baby boomers and those in the Sandwich Generation’s attitudes on aging loved ones and their care,” he said. “It was really for our own use and to share with [media] who people turn to for info on the topic.”

With more than 297 franchised businesses across the globe, Senior Helpers was the first provider in the home care industry to offer specialized care services for individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s, Buitron said. “Obviously, this is extremely important today as more and more individuals are diagnosed with these debilitating disorders. That too is a huge concern for anyone with living parents, as these can strike anytime.”

A caregiver serves a senior at home.

Senior Helpers offers companion, personal and live-In care as well as check-in visits and transition assistance. They also provide sitter assistance and respite care.

Entertainment Tonight’s Leeza Gibbons operates Leeza’s Care Connection, a non-profit partnership, with Senior Helpers. The best-selling author and 2015 Celebrity Apprentice and Emmy Award winner’s foundation helps elderly people receive the proper care they need and works to expand the discussion and understanding around the expectations, needs and realities of caring for aging and ailing parents. Gibbons was a caregiver for her own mother who suffered with Altzheimer’s disease.

A little over 40% of respondents said they have yet to face the situation of researching or even considering working with a caregiver for aging loved ones. Almost 16% said they think about it constantly. The other approximately 44% said they had either thought about it and hadn't taken any action or were not interested in pursuing that path for their parents.

Still, 60% of the respondents reported that they felt that finding senior living arrangements for their parents or loved ones was a natural part of life. Twenty-five percent said the thought of pursuing it gave them anxiety, and 14% said they preferred another sibling handle it.

When asked about their overall perception of senior care—in-home or via an assisted or independent living center—nearly 60% of respondents reported that they feel when the elderly are cared for in their own homes, their experience is more positive than in an assisted living facility.

When asked why their aging parents still live at home, the majority of respondents, some 58 %, said it was because of the comfort and dignity associated with living independently. Almost 21% said their routine remains unchanged, 13% said it was because of the proximity to family members and friends, and about 11% said it was because of the positive memories associated with home.

Respondents claimed they spent almost the same amount of time worrying about their own health as they did their parents’, with 32% reporting they spent more time worrying about their own health and 30% saying they spent more time worrying about the health and wellbeing of their parents. Twenty percent worried more about retirement and almost 17% worried more about their children and whether their education would ever be paid off.

Finally, nearly 37% of respondents chose the fictitious Jill Taylor of Home Improvement of a lineup of television caregivers offered in the survey to hypothetically take care of their parents. Fran Fine of “The Nanny” came in second with 25%, followed closely by Tony Micelli of “Who’s the Boss” at 24%. Uncle Phil, of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” didn’t fair well with a little less than 13%.

Time to break out the reruns.

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