Eldercare Locator, a website and call center that connects elder Americans with resources ‘to enrich their lives and help them meet their daily needs,’ has released the findings from their latest report on the most common reasons for contacting the network. The report gives the public a snapshot of the biggest concerns seniors are facing today, as well as where more resources are needed to improve their livelihood.
Eldercare Locator is a group effort by federal, state and local agencies and funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging. According to their website, Eldercare Locator’s call center is open 5 days a week from 9 am-5 pm ET. Last year, the network responded to 308,637 individual inquiries through phone calls, emails, and web chats. The website alone averaged over 40,000 hits a month last year.
Who Contacts Eldercare Locator and Why
Eldercare Locator found that 73% of those who contacted the network were women, the majority of whom sought help for themselves. The majority of inquiries related to transportation options (21%), 20% of requests came from those who needed help finding resources that would help them with their daily lives within their own homes, while 9% wanted help with either making their home more livable or help finding an affordable place to live. Another 9% wanted help sourcing medical equipment and supplies.
While certainly not the first place many elders would think to call when facing a crisis, Eldercare Locator reported that in 2016, 14% of all inquiries required what they call “Enhanced Services Calls.” Of these calls, a third were to report elder abuse and to ask for help. Elder abuse includes financial scams, self neglect, and physical and emotional abuse and neglect. The network says that these calls were immediately handed to the most appropriate local authority. For instance, one woman called to report that she was hungry and did not have access to food. She became unable to hear or speak during the call and the network immediately contacted local police who were able to provide a wellness check and ensure the woman’s well-being.
Transportation the Largest Concern Among Elderly Americans
According to the report, 21% of requests received were from individuals worried about how they would find a ride to and from errands, doctors appointments, and social outings. Although the majority of rides for the elderly are provided by family members (estimated to be nearly 80%), there is the worry of burdening a family member with frequent trips. The report notes that the majority of those callers specifically needed a ride for a routine doctor’s appointment. While addressing the potential of using public transportation such as the bus or other local transit systems, the report noted that many elder Americans live outside of cities, might be traveling at times when public transportation is less available, or might require specialized assistance in getting to public transportation and/or to the appointment once they arrive.
Help with Routine Activities a Close Second to Transportation Worries
The majority of Americans choose to stay in their own homes as long as they can before they move in with a family member or into an assisted living center or nursing home. Choosing to live in one’s own home gives a sense of familiarity and comfort, but it presents health, safety, and well-being challenges.
20% of those who contacted Eldercare Locator in 2016 wanted assistance with daily life in their own homes. The two largest things that elders wanted help with were basic personal care and help with meals. Eldercare Locator reports that many requests they received related to aid with routine grooming, such as bathing and getting dressed. Many inquiries also related to food preparation and sources of group meals. Spending the majority of their time alone led a large number of elders living at home to request locations of organizations who serve meals in a community setting.
Elders Want Help Living Independently as Long as Possible
According to the 2016 report, elders wanting to stay in their own homes led many to reach out to Eldercare Locator for help locating resources for outfitting their home with safety and mobility aids. Many who contacted the site also were seeking help finding a new place to live that would still allow them to live nearly as independently as they would in their own home. In total, 9% of inquiries were related to housing.
While certainly a valuable tool to help the elderly prosper in their own homes as long as safely possible, Eldercare Locator seems to be a greatly underutilized resource for elderly Americans. The network’s ability to provide useful information was supported by their user satisfaction survey, with the report revealing that 98% of those who contacted the network felt as though their question was successfully handled.
Elder Abuse or Neglect Should Never Go Unreported, No Matter Where It Occurs
The Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys of Levin & Perconti encourage you to visit Eldercare Locator for assistance in finding resources that may help you or your loved one live as happily and safely as possible in your elder years. The number of agencies, groups, and networks that aim to provide personal care and social opportunities to elderly Americans is vast, but many are overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. Eldercare Locator can help connect elders with these resources. However, if you or a loved one has faced abuse or neglect while living in your own home (either from a home health care worker or other employee of an agency tasked to provide assistance, meals, or other care) or while at an assisted living facility or nursing home, contact your local police immediately. This is a crime and it should be punished. A recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services found that 40% of all cases of elder abuse and neglect go entirely unreported. In fact, our state, Illinois, was found to have the highest number of cases. This is an epidemic and it’s time to put an end to it.
If you’re unsure where to begin, let us help you. For over 25 years we’ve passionately pursued justice for seniors who have been victims of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect. Our attorneys are committed to fighting for the best results for you and your family. Consultations with our elder abuse attorneys are both free and confidential. Please call us at 312.332.2872, toll-free at 1.877.374.1417 or complete our free online consultation request form.
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