Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Complex Future of Long Term Care

In a recent LA Times editorial post, author Bob Rosenblatt identifies two areas of uncertainty in the future of long term care: seniors’ financial planning and the increasing demands on skilled nursing facilities. As our profession looks towards the future, there are two questions providers must discuss:

First, are the millions of aging Americans preparing for the financial cost of entering into skilled nursing facilities? As Rosenblatt points out, many seniors and their families are surprised to learn that the Medicare program does not cover custodial care—the specific care that many individuals require when they enter a center. Without Medicare, families are left to pay for the skilled nursing care on their own, a cost that in recent years has reached about $70,000.00 annually. These costs can be overwhelming to families and individuals, who are already faced with an emotional decision. Providers may be part of these difficult conversations—for tips on how to handle these situations and to help families navigate through their financial and emotional concerns, visit Care Conversations.org.

Second, how long will the LTC community be able to sustain the ever-increasing demands on their providers and caregivers? Many facilities across the nation are surviving because of the dedication of their caregivers and the selflessness of unpaid community volunteers. But with the Boomers nearing retirement age, SNFs and assisted living facilities will be strained to cover costs with reduced government funding, and volunteers will become even more essential. As Rosenblatt poignantly asks: Will there be enough of these loving volunteers in the future to care for the growing legions of aging boomers?

Check out the full LA times article here.

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