Long Term Care Reform

When you combine medical advances, rising life expectancy rates in America, spiraling healthcare costs, and a failure of the system to consider these factors, you arrive at the need for long-term care reform in the United States. The latest trend in independent living is encapsulated in the term, “Aging in place.” Simply stated, the goal of aging in place is for seniors to stay in their homes for as long as their financial and health requirements allow.

The reality for many however, is that they may need to transition to a long-term care facility for the round the clock healthcare, and many families discover the move to be prohibitively expensive without adequate preparation and planning.

The Changing Face of Elder Care

For generations, American families cared for their elders during the latter’s final life stages, but changing demographics, economic constraints, and living realities has changed that calculus. Indeed, this changing dynamics has led, in part, to the move towards the trend of aging in place. Unwilling to prove burdens to their families and loved ones; independent-minded seniors are looking to prolong that independence as long as possible.

Unfortunately, health concerns and inadequate program coverage puts this autonomous lifestyle at risk. Medicare benefits can be used for the cost of long-term care, but it has its limitations. For instance, recipients can stay up to a hundred days in a nursing facility following a hospital stay of three or more days. To be eligible for this benefit, the nature of the care must be rehabilitative. Long-term care that requires extended nursing care or 24/7 hospice care is not covered under the program.

The Challenge of Chronic Care

People are living longer, albeit, at a cost considering the number of health concerns confronting this population. That is because 80% of seniors suffer from at least one chronic disease, and half endure tow chronic conditions. By the time seniors reach their 85th year, many suffer from three of four different chronic diseases.

Chief among these, Alzheimer’s disease threatens to triple within the next thirty years. With this heavy medical baggage, many families discover that keeping their loved ones close by in the home to be nearly impossible, and leaving them alone to age in place might place their health and safety at risk.

A Very Real Need for Change

Currently, as mentioned above, long-term care is not readily available for seniors on Medicare owing to the limitations placed by the eligibility requirements. Most importantly, a very real need for change is needed in the delivery of at-home, long-term care of seniors looking to stay in their home and age in place, or provisions need to be put in place to allow seniors in need the long-term medical care that they require in a skilled facility.

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