The costs of nursing home care: The statistics of living a longer healthier life.
Where do you see yourself living out your life as you age? Chances are, like 90% of all seniors, you want to age gracefully in the comfort of your own home. The statistics also show that aging in place provides people live longer, happier, QUALITY lives at home. They are emotionally, socially, and healthfully happier. If that isn't reason enough, living safely at home can also save a lot of money.
It costs a fortune to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility these days. In a study from US News and World Report from 2012, the average nursing home room shared with another person is more than $80K a year. If you insist on some privacy, it will cost you more than $90K a year. Wow! That is a lot of money. That is more money than most people make in a year working a 40 hour week. Just imagine that you have worked your whole life, saved your money to retire, only to find that in a very short time all of it is gone to pay for a room you have to share with someone you don't know. The cost on society is also extraneous, with Medicare and Medicaid funding over 60% of facility care. For those who cannot afford a private facility, the options for a comfortable living situation are often bleak with no privacy and no dignity.
LIVING AT HOME FOR A LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE
Studies show that people living at home with care in their own environment live TWICE as long as those institutionalized. It is believed that loss of privacy, loss of social network, loss of familiar home, loss of dignity, loss of pets, and the daily conditions in a facility have a dramatic negative impact on a person's will to live and emotional well being. In addition, residents are exposed to more illness and disease, the death of other fellow residents, and the lack of choices that one is afforded at home.
Most seniors own their own homes by the time they are in their 70's. With age, mobility declines and safety at home becomes an issue. What used to be a simple task of getting in and out of the shower becomes a dangerous endeavor. This is the number one reason people are admitted to a facility for care. Most people don't think of the other options available, but increasingly policy makers and community leaders are recognizing the benefits of providing services that allow people to stay in their homes and communities. As the population of seniors grows with the "baby boomers," there are communities popping up all over the country where our older population can age in place, living at home with social services and health care right there in the community. Home modifications, wheelchair ramps, roll-in/ walk-in showers, portable ramps, lifts, grab bars, and other ADA accessibility solutions are the backbone of these neighborhoods but can also be applied in singular homes where families take the lead in helping their aging loved one stay home. Implementing these minor changes add up to only a fraction of the cost of facilities, saves a ton of money in the long run, and can enable a person to live SAFELY at home for many years if not the rest of their life.
In summary, modifying ones own home can increase life expectancy, costs way less than a facility, and increase overall health and happiness. If you are facing the tough decision of placing your loved one in a facility for care, you should know that this decision is not the only option. Consider ADA accessibility solutions for your home or the home of your loved one. There are many inexpensive money saving solutions that will make living at home a safe place to stay.