Home Nursing home Rest house? No thanks. 70% of respondents would prefer not to.

Rest house? No thanks. 70% of respondents would prefer not to.

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The pandemic has damaged opinions about nursing homes as a large majority of older Canadians are more likely than before to flee nursing homes after observing the initial wave of COVID-19 outbreaks and poor living conditions. substandard living conditions in some institutions.

According to Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, more than 70% of respondents said they were less likely to enter a retirement home after the pandemic, while a quarter reported no change in their care plans. long duration.

Lily: Goodbye, senior centers and retirement homes. Older people do not want to spend their time in places where they are seen as declining victims.

“We expected to see some aversion to nursing homes, but we were surprised by the magnitude of it,” said Minjoon Lee, visiting scholar at the Center for Retirement Research and associate professor of economics. at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. “I would expect to find similar attitudes in the United States”

In many countries, including Canada and the United States, COVID deaths were heavily concentrated among the elderly. At the start of the pandemic, many of these deaths occurred in nursing homes.

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For example, in May 2020, more than 90% of COVID deaths among people aged 70 and over in Quebec occurred in nursing homes, while in Ontario it was more than 70%.

Additionally, many care home workers left during COVID due to the harsher conditions, which meant that the remaining care home residents faced increasing health risk and worse living conditions with less support.

These issues received extensive media coverage, so they were highly visible to the public and may have a lasting impact on individuals’ choices between entering a nursing home or receiving home care, the researchers found.

According to the survey, aversion to nursing homes was widespread across all demographic groups. Survey respondents were between the ages of 50 and 69 with no limitations in activities of daily living. A total of 3,004 respondents completed the survey.

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“This is very alarming news for the nursing home industry. For people, the impact of the pandemic will be lingering,” Lee said. “I don’t see an easy solution to this if I’m a manager of a retirement home.”

While respondents were concerned about care homes, some are also aware that planning to use home care instead may require more money. More than a quarter of respondents said they were ready to save more after the pandemic.

For this group, the survey further asked if they would save more to avoid entering a nursing home when they need long-term care and 83% answered yes.

The survey also asked if the pandemic had changed their views on a home care subsidy. The result confirms that the pandemic has strengthened support for such a policy. About 40% said they were more supportive of a home care subsidy than before the pandemic, and only around 10% were less supportive after the pandemic.

If individuals are primarily responsible for covering the risk of needing end-of-life home care, this could represent an excessive burden. Therefore, those considering using home care can support new public policies to subsidize home care.

To explore this question, the survey asked: “Suppose the government proposes a policy to increase access to home care for people who need help with activities of daily living…to reduce their likelihood of go to a retirement home, but would raise taxes. to finance this policy. What…would be your opinion…? »

The results show strong support for such a policy. About 70% agree with the higher tax funded home care subsidy, and 20% strongly agree. Only 12% strongly disagree with such a policy.

The United States has had similar experiences with nursing homes during COVID and also tends to subsidize institutional care more easily than home care.

As a result, the survey results likely apply to the U.S. context as well, suggesting that policies aimed at making home care more affordable may better meet the preferences of older Americans in the wake of the pandemic, researchers said. researchers.