Choosing the right senior care can be an emotionally-fraught decision process. As seniors age into their eighties and beyond, they may need resources that they had not planned for. While more than 80 percent of seniors report that they want to remain living in their own homes, that often is not possible.
SitterCity, a Chicago-based online company that matches families and caregivers, is now providing senior care matching services, as well. The expansion, known as Years Ahead, was put into place prior to the holiday season, as the holidays are the busiest time of year for senior care needs. The general manager of Years Ahead, Melissa Marchwick, says that adult children most often notice the aging of their parents when they are able to spend longer periods of time with them, such as during holiday visits.
SitterCity was first launched more than ten years ago to help families find babysitters for young children. They then expanded to offer databases for housekeepers, pet sitters, and tutors – and now, senior companions. The need for senior care and tasks involved were found to be extensive enough that the company soon launched a separate platform and website, the better to explain senior living options, from assisted living to home health care.
One of the most helpful things about the site design is the “Care Path Needs Assessment,” to be completed online. Users answer questions about current medical conditions and cognitive abilities of the senior, and are assigned an independence rating on a scale from 1 to 5. The rating helps to match the right level of care and additional resources. Users are also able to work with a care adviser who can help explore facility options and give more input on choosing the right care provider. The system is free for search users; professional caregivers and other providers pay a membership fee to be listed on the site. According to Years Ahead, there are more than 34,000 facility and in-home senior care providers currently in the network.
There are other senior care provider sites cropping up across the web, from private companies to government-sponsored sites. As of 2011, more than 8,000 people turn 85 every day. By the year 2025, it is estimated that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be seniors — more than 72 million people. And while many of those seniors will be in good health, a large number of them will still need some degree of support and care.