I received and email from the SCAN Foundation with a list of “10 things you should know about aging with dignity and independence”. The list is an eye-opener… and a real bummer.
Here are some of the very interesting points from the email which will make you think about your plans for getting old…. or make you want to join the Hemlock Society.
70 percent of us who reach the age of 65 will need some form of care or services for an average of three years.
Research shows that 43 percent of Americans over the age of 55 have less than $25,000 saved for retirement.
In 2011, nursing home care cost an average of $78,110 a year for a semi-private room.
Assistance at home, such as a visit from a home health aide, costs on average $21,840 a year.
Only short-term rehabilitative care at home or in a nursing home is covered by Medicare. [note: Long-term care is not covered by Medicare.]
Medicaid pays for about half of all nursing home or home care services. However, should you need care, the only way to qualify is to spend nearly all of your assets. The nest egg you’ve worked hard all your life to build must be spent to qualify for help.
In 2010, spending on supportive services for adults age 65 and older was estimated to be $182 billion, and projected to increase to $684 billion by 2050. Such projections threaten both state and federal budgets.
Today, over 12 million Americans rely on these services and supports, with 58 percent of those individuals over the age of 65. By 2050, it is predicted that this number will more than double, with 27 million Americans relying upon long-term services and supports.
Less than 10 percent of adults actually have purchased a long term care insurance policy. According to experts, few people purchase it because it is expensive, rates have historically increased rapidly, and potential buyers can be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Despite the recognition of a looming crisis in caring for aging Americans, little has been done in the past 40 years to address this problem and create a healthy network of supports and services allowing Americans to age with dignity in the place we call home.
The federal health reform law created a number of opportunities to help older people and adults with disabilities remain in their homes and communities. It includes programs to help states provide more in-home care to low-income adults in need and ways to help those living in nursing homes to return to their homes and communities.
This last statement refers to one part of the Affordable Care Act which is actually on its deathbed. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program was to be a voluntary long-term care insurance plan which working people could pay into through deductions from their paychecks. The money would go into a government trust and could be used by CLASS participants to pay for in-home help when they are old and infirm. The idea is to get people to put money aside for their long-term care needs so they don’t end up in a state-supported nursing home.
Sorry for the bummer news. Enjoy your day!