An association made up of non-profit groups that serve senior citizens is holding its annual conference today and tomorrow (Thursday) in Altoona. Dana Petrowsky is the president of LeadingAge Iowa.

“Most of us as we age, or if we become ill, prefer to receive care at home. And so we’re going to be talking about how we can assure that all Iowans have services available to them at home. We want them to know that as they age, we can provide the support the need so they can remain at home,” Petrowsky says.

Petrowsky says moving toward more at-home care requires a change in tradition. “The current system in Iowa is very based on facilities and going to a long-term care facility to receive services,” Petrowsky explains. “What we’re going to try and do is promote the expansion of more home-care providers in Iowa, so that people have a choice in how to receive care.”

Petrowsky says getting enough providers of home services has been a problem, and they hope they can address that issue. “In part it’s based on the reimbursement system, which has not been adequate to pay for the services. And there haven’t been programs and agencies around. So, we’re promoting that people look at developing a business plan and actually expanding their services,” She says.

“Currently in Iowa, almost every community has access to a long-term care facility. Many of these facilities can be the basis of an expanded home-care service so that people can have a choice.” Petrowsky says the businesses that expand to include home care services can benefit from the new attitudes about how people want to use their services.

“The consumer is becoming much more active, and as we listen to the consumers and what they want, we’re focusing on how we can meet their individual expectations,” Petrowsky says. Petrowsky says they will talk about other issues too, such as the looming ruling on the federal healthcare plan and how that will impact the industry. You can find out more about the conference