History is Repeating Itself
I first heard this saying bedside back in the 1980s. There I stood, the neophyte social worker, trying my best to look competent when a very frail man looked into my eyes and implored “don’t send me to the poor house.” Admittedly I didn’t understand the cultural reference at that very moment. All I knew was that I had the authority to change this man’s life forever.
I went to my favorite source of knowledge, my father, and asked the question “what is the poor house?” I had heard of the Great Depression, the financial ruins that landed many honorable people displaced into sub-human conditions. Today I think the best analogy is the mass migration from Africa and the Middle East into Europe. We watch the images roll across our screens of cold, wet exhausted people looking for shelter, food, and safety.
Who Can Afford Nursing Home Care?
In 2012, the average price of a single room, private pay, nursing home stay was $90.520 per year. Today a nursing home average annual cost is $105,840.00 according to Senior Living magazine. Comedian John Oliver rants about nursing homes in his HBO show “Last Week Tonight.” In it, he explains the industry behind nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and why long-term care needs fixing.
One caution, some of his language is, well, salty, but his message is powerful and accurate.
To Go or Not To Go, That is the Question
The decision to enter a nursing home is never made casually. The amount of documentation and scrutiny required for a nursing home placement to occur is daunting. Family members must produce many legal and financial documents. Care team members document the functional and medical status of each organ system and activity of daily living. The doctors and nurses outline a treatment plan, medication, and prognosis in great detail to prepare for the new care setting. Seventy percent of Americans age 65 or older will need some form of long-term care.
No matter the level of precision exercised, a nursing home placement is painful. “Don’t send me to the Poor House” expresses the emotional apprehension and uncertainty that the nursing home is the right place to live. The cost of a nursing home stay has a rippling effect on the financial resources of all the parties involved. Medicare covers just a portion of a nursing home stay with approval from the insurance company. Medicaid pays for nursing home care after all the senior adult’s assets have been exhausted. Long-term care insurance is the best option for covering this care otherwise the expense must be covered by the senior adult and family.
Make a Plan
Long Term Care Insurance is a prudent investment for avoiding the poor house. We have more options for care than ever before but researching alternatives is a painstaking, time-consuming process. I am the first to turn a blind eye to the unpleasantries that may lie ahead. I suspect many of you are the same. However, I do strongly encourage you to begin your planning process now. Know your options before the situation ever lands on your radar. Credit For Caring Resource Directory contains carefully selected links and professional advice to help you plan for your long-term care.