WHY GROWING OPTIONS IN SENIOR CARE AREN'T AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE
Updated: Apr 10, 2018
The baby boom generation has begun to reach Senior Citizen status. As a result, the number of seniors needing long-term disability services is projected to grow from ten million in 2010 to twenty million by 2040.  As this generation ages, their choices for housing and care have expanded as well. The wide variety of options are designed to meet a range of needs. Some are simply more physically accessible with wider doorways, fewer steps, and easier navigation. Maintenance, lawn care, and housekeeping are often provided. Others offer in-home assistance, meals, transportation, and security. The most comprehensive options include nursing care, medication management, and even complete custodial care. For those with the financial means, these choices can nearly be overwhelming. However, for those who are low-income, the choices are far more limited. Rather than having options in levels of care, many find themselves faced with the prospect of placement in a nursing home designed for comprehensive care, surpassing their actual needs. Not only is this financially wasteful, it can result in limited independence, isolation, additional health complications, and depression. 
Fortunately, there is an alternative. For low-income individuals, in-home personal care services remain, in most cases, an alternative option to nursing home placement. These in-home care services are offered in some form in every state to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits unnecessary and inappropriate segregation by government programs. The programs allow low-income elderly and disabled individuals to remain in their home and community. The familiarity of their environment along with caregivers who are aware of the individual's spiritual and cultural values reduces anxiety, isolation, and depression. In many cases, a patient is able to hire a family member or friend that is already familiar with their needs to provide their care.  Patients receive the appropriate level of care at a cost significantly less than institutional nursing care.
 Johnson RW, Toohey D, Wiener JM. Meeting the Long-Term Care Needs of the Baby Boomers: How Changing Families Will Affect Paid Helpers and Institutions. Washington, DC: Urban Institute; 2007.  O’Malley Watts M, Reaves EL, Musumeci M. Money Follows the Person: 2013 State Survey of Transitions, Services, and Costs. Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; 2014.  https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/American-Indian-Alaska-Native/AIAN/LTSS-TA-Center/info/hcbs.html