Elderly Care in the near Future: What's Going On?
According to recent studies, nearly 88,000,000 Baby Boomers, those individuals born between 1946 and 1964, will be turning 65 in just a couple of years. This generation of senior citizens is one of the largest in the history of the United States, and the needs of those individuals will offer health care providers and facilities challenges in the very near future.
Studies have determined that more families are taking in elderly parents as rising health care costs, especially those associated with Assisted Living facilities, home care and nursing home or long term care centers, skyrocket. In many communities throughout the United States, the average monthly "rent" for a semi-private room in a nursing home averages about $4,000. That doesn't include your parent's medical needs; visits to the doctor, surgeries, and medications or special needs such as rehabilitation or counseling.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid services are undergoing massive growing pains, and may experience changes in requirements and payments as new health-care reform makes its way through Congress in the summer of 2009. Proposed cuts to skilled nursing facilities alone amount to nearly $45 billion, and that doesn't include the 16 billion-dollar cuts proposed by the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS).
Where does that leave your elderly parent in regards to elderly care? The needs of today and tomorrow's elderly may continue to be more the responsibility of children and extended family members than ever before.
While many Americans take care of elderly parents in their own homes, the norm in the United States has been to place those needing specialized care and supervision into Assisted Living facilities and nursing homes. Many seniors themselves have saved money and made these plans themselves, not wishing to become a burden on their children. However, rising health care costs, impending budget cuts, and the economy may very well affect the future of elderly care for the next decade, or more.
For more information on Medicare and Medicaid please see Elderly Parents Medicare and Medicaid
The congressional budget office produced a study stating that between the mid-1970s to 2005, elderly care costs caused a steady rise in Medicare spending, and that trend is expected to continue for decades. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services determined that health expenditures increased from a manageable 4.7% to 14.9% in the past 45 years, a situation made worse by the rapid increase of costs to Medicare due to increased enrollment in the program.
Nursing home stays average $200 a day, but depending on geographical location, may range from about $130 a day to $500. That's an average of between $50,000 and $75,000 a year! As of 2006, the average cost of nursing home care rises approximately 6% every year. Add to that realization that Medicare does not usually pay for long-term care, and many seniors may be left feeling despondent.
Costs of elderly care are dependent on geographical location. For example, Assisted Living facilities in Colorado average about $35,000 year, while Adult Day Health Care facilities cost about $12,000. Home Health care may average about $40,000 a year, while nursing home, semi private rooms’ average of about $65,000.
In Washington DC, Assisted Living facilities average $36,000, and Adult Day Health Care facilities average about $19,000. Home Health care averages roughly $45,000, and a semi private nursing home room about $75,000.
However, seniors are nothing if not intelligent and perceptive. Discussing health care costs in the future of elderly care for your parents may not be a pleasant experience, but for the sake of not only your parents but their caregivers as well, such considerations need to be discussed sooner rather than later. It is especially important to discuss planning for individuals who have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, or forms of dementia that will eventually require full-time care and support, either at home or in a nursing facility, so he or she may have some input regarding preferences.
Now is the time, if you haven't done it before, to call a family meeting. This first meeting should be held without the presence of the elderly parent or parents, so you can openly express concerns and worries about the parent and how to best plan for their future needs.
Now is the time to discuss the cost of elderly care and any other special needs your parent may need or require in the near future. Making the decision of who is going to care for the elderly parent or how to determine their future is not easy. Children of elderly parents however, cannot ignore the looming challenges and obstacles in health care in the near future and the time to address such concerns is now.