A new study by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research indicates that purchasing long-term care insurance makes finan...Read more
What Does the Recession Mean for Long-Term Care?
- December 29th, 2008
Certainly, the current economic downturn is not going to affect the needs of some seniors for help with activities of daily living. But it could affect where that help is provided -- at home, in assisted living or in a nursing home. And it could affect who provides the care -- a family member or someone who is hired.
Here are a few likely trends:
Most nursing home care and, increasingly, care at home as well, is covered by Medicaid. This is a joint state-federal health care program for people who are "poor" under its complicated rules. Even before the current recession, Medicaid was growing and straining the ability of states to pay the cost. This has caused states to restrict eligibility for benefits. Such restrictions are likely to tighten further.
With fewer people working, more will be available to care for family members at home, perhaps delaying or avoiding the move to assisted living or a nursing home.
With money becoming scarcer for just about everyone, families will be more reluctant to pay for nursing home, assisted living or home care. This may result in more beds and services being available and a decrease in costs. In fact, according to the 2008 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Assisted Living Costs, over the past year the cost of semi-private rooms in nursing homes increased just 1.1 percent and the cost of private rooms did not change, in contrast to increases that substantially exceeded the inflation rate in most recent years.
We are likely to see bankruptcies of nursing homes and assisted living facilities if they cannot fill their beds as anticipated and if Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates are insufficient to cover their expenses. Facility shut downs will be very disruptive to residents as well as to their families.
With alternative jobs less plentiful, the supply of qualified care providers should grow.
Planning ahead is even more important, whether purchasing long-term care insurance, protecting assets to qualify for Medicaid, or simply making one's wishes known ahead of time.
Even prior to the onset of the recession, many more alternatives to nursing home care were being developed, including assisted living, new home care models, community partnership programs, and increased Medicaid coverage of care provided in the community. Anyone providing care for a senior needs to do much more research about the alternatives available.
These changes are not all bad. Fewer Americans working quite as hard as most adults have in recent years should allow more time for us to care for our loved ones and to find the right solutions among the increasing number of care choices available.
A qualified elder law attorney can help your family explore care alternatives and how to pay for them. To find an attorney near you, click here.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Hammond and Associates, LLC, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate
For Jeffrey Hammond, the practice of Elder Law is personal. Jeff’s many years of experience in law and in business did not prepare him for the crisis he faced in 2005 and 2006 when his father suffered a stroke and both of his parents suffered from dementia and other medical problems. At that time, Jeff began an i...
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Susan Pollack served as Chairperson of the Falls Church Senior Citizens Commission from 1997 to 2011 and was on the Executive Board of the Falls Church Education Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association of the National Capital Area and is a member of the Arlington B...
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Loretta Morris Williams is a certified elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Ms. Williams was admitted to the Council of Advanced Practitioners, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) in 2012. She serves as President of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Ms. Willia...