What Is The Cost Of Independence?

Staff WriterBusiness, Police & Fire, RSS, RSS-Business

Sixty-five-year-old Barbara Johnson enjoys living independently in her own home. However, she needs help navigating parts of her day due to COPD and chronic back issues. Without Easterseals Personal Attendant Services (PAS) which allows her to receive care by her cousin at home, Barbara would need to move into a long-term care facility, greatly restricting her independence.

During Older Americans Month in May, Easterseals is highlighting services designed to keep seniors, like Barbara, living independently. That includes Personal Attendant Services which allows seniors to choose and hire their own caregiver to provide support in the home.

“I am an independent person. As long as I can hold onto the independence I have, I’d like to do that. It means everything to me at this point in my life. It means freedom. Personal Attendant Services ensure I have quality of life, and everyone should have that,” Barbara says. “It allows me to stay in my home and in a familiar environment. I don’t have to live in a nursing home or someone else’s home.”

Personal Attendant Services allows people with disabilities and seniors to employ their own personal attendant and perform duties based on individual needs. Specific examples may include help with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and other duties that help the individual maintain an independent lifestyle. While the person with the disability or senior is the employer, Easterseals staff helps with the selection and hiring of the attendant and assists with onboarding and payroll.

“I can’t tell you how much the program and my cousin, who is my attendant, truly means to me. I have someone I can trust in my home, and I can trust her with anything. Having a family member makes a difference,” Barbara says. “I can make my own choices and that means so much to me.”

Not only do Personal Attendant Services allow a better and more independent quality of life for seniors, but it is also far less costly than care provided in a long-term care facility. According to recent estimates, the median monthly cost of care for a senior citizen or person with a disability utilizing PAS is approximately $800. If that person goes into a long-term care facility, the median monthly cost of care is about $13,000.

Older Americans Month, which was established in 1963, is celebrated every May to recognize the contributions made by older Americans and highlight issues important to those who are aging, as well as to reaffirm commitments to service older adults in the community.

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