Series Redux: What is the Future of Senior Housing and Care in America?

Last month, Senior Housing News published a series of articles looking into what’s going on in the world of senior housing and care, and some options, alternatives, and trends that are starting to emerge.

There’s much more that could be said on the topic, but to sum up what we’ve written about so far, here’s a list of recent articles from the series as well as some older ones from last year that deal with similar subjects.

Will the Nation Go Broke Paying for Senior Housing & Long-Term Care? (02/13/2012) — This article kicked off a multi-part series looking into the future of senior housing and long-term care in the United States. It takes a look into seniors’ financial preparedness for retirement; long-term care costs; and the current state of government benefits programs, including what’s happening with Medicaid and Medicare in senior housing/care communities. Read more

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Nursing Home Shortage Crisis Averted: States Can’t Afford Them Anyway (02/14/2012) — Some news outlets have reported the possibility of a coming nursing home shortage, but an AARP state survey reveals many states actively working to transition Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutional settings and into home- or community-based settings. Nursing home census has actually been declining in the past decade and other types of senior housing develops, and current trends suggest this will continue to happen. Read more

Stretching Medicaid Dollars with “Affordable” Assisted Living (02/15/2012) — With many folks unable to pay for their own long-term care, the Medicaid program is getting stretched to its limits, but some states are looking for ways to use its funding to care for a greater number of people in lower-acuity, less-expensive settings through waivers. This article takes a look into Illinois’ model of affordable assisted living through its “supportive living” program. Read more

Without Grants or Waivers, Can Affordable Assisted Living Exist? (02/20/2012) — If Medicaid (or government funding in general) is out of the picture, can such a thing as “affordable” assisted living even exist? Senior living industry folks suggest it can’t, saying it’s difficult to cut costs without compromising quality. Read more

Transitional Senior Housing & “Granny Pods” as Aging-in-Place Alternatives (02/16/2012) — For those who don’t want or need to enter a senior care facility, perhaps transitional housing is the way to go. A couple different companies are manufacturing small houses that can be built in an adult child’s backyard. While in-home care may still be needed, this could end up being a much cheaper alternative to a nursing home or even assisted living facility. Read more

For CLASS Act to Survive, Look to FHA for Inspiration (02/22/2012) — The Obama Administration’s plan for long-term care, the CLASS Act, has been shelved, but that doesn’t mean the idea should be repealed and completely eradicated, according to Senior Housing News’ founder and publisher, George Yedinak. The need for a long-term care insurance program is growing along with the aging population, and similar to how the FHA stepped in and revived the housing market after the Great Depression, this country might need government intervention for LTC in the wake of the Great Recession. Read more

Using Home Health Care to Help Senior Housing Residents Age in Place (02/21/2012) — Aging in place refers to seniors being able to remain in their homes rather than move away, and home health care is increasingly being employed to facilitate this movement. While this often applies to seniors who live in private, individual residences, it can also work in active adult, independent, or even assisted living settings. Read more

Harnessing the Potential of Technology in Senior Living Facilities (02/23/2012) — Some senior living providers are wary of technology, as it can be used to help seniors age in place in their own homes. But it can also be a very effective tool within senior care facilities to help combat an impending labor shortage, reduce injuries and lost time, and increase efficiency. Read more

Will the Government Enlist Private Capital to Subsidize Senior Care? (02/27/2012) — With dwindling benefits programs and a growing senior population, the government may turn to private capital to help pay for seniors’ care. This could be done through “social impact bonds” where investors invest in preventive care and programs that help keep individuals out of nursing homes in favor of just-as-effective, but much cheaper, models of care. Read more

Growing Market for Design Features Aimed at Aging in Place; Remodeling Activity Up (02/29/2012) — Remodeling homes to aid aging in place is becoming popular, and lots of architects, designers, and contractors are becoming certified aging in place specialists (CAPS). But it’s not just retrofitting—some designers are implementing universal design features that allow individuals to transition into old age without having to make major changes to their homes. Read more

Related Articles

Aging in Place:

Village Model Fills Seniors’ Aging in Place Needs (10/23/11) — The village model of housing promotes aging in place through creating communities where residents help and rely on each other rather than moving into designated senior housing. Villages have sprung up across the nation, most of them coordinated through the Village to Village Network. Each compiles a list of trusted local service providers according to the needs dictated by village members, who pay entrance fees in order to have access to that list. Read more

Home Sharing Programs Work to Postpone Long-Term Care for Seniors (01/11/2012) — Home sharing is emerging as a way to promote aging in place as it lets older American homeowners remain at home through matching up with people in their area who are looking for an affordable place to live in exchange for duties that thy can provide around the house, such as yard work, errands, or cleaning. Read more

Creative Senior Living Communities Emphasize Aging in Place (12/14/2011) — Housing communities shouldn’t be designed for “old” folks, they should be designed for lifestyles in such a way that enables aging in place, according to a senior living community architect. It’s necessary to be creative and culture-driven when designing to attract residents that will move in because it suits their lifestyle now—and will continue to do so as they grow older. Read more

Medicaid:

State Pushes Medicaid Toward In-Home Care, Away from Nursing Homes (01/18/2012) — Tennessee made changes to its state Medicaid program reflecting a movement away from institutional care and toward in-home care. It’s supposed to save more than $4 million by redirecting money toward community-based services that are often less expensive than nursing homes, and other states may follow TennCare’s lead in their own state programs. Read more

Survey: 57% of Residential Care Facilities Shun Medicaid for Private-Pay (01/04/2012) — As Medicaid budgets become increasingly strained, some senior housing communities are trying to move away from residents whose stays are funded by the federal needs-based program in favor of private pay residents. Paired with Medicare reimbursement cuts, some communities are increasingly looking to increase their private pay census. Read more

Community Care Program Saves Medicaid Dollars, Sees Breakthrough in 2011 (12/11/2011) — Many states are looking to relocated Medicaid dollars toward home- or community-based care through the Money Follows the Person movement, which uses federal grant money to transition Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutional care and into their homes are communities. This movement saw a turning point in 2011 with a growing number of transitions, and a report which shows that a cheaper monthly cost for program participants. Read more

Industry Trends:

Baby Boomers are Going to Turn Assisted Living Model “On its Head” (02/07/2012) — The boomers are coming, and they’re not going to go quietly into retirement, according to senior living experts. Even though it will be some time before the boomers are ready to move into retirement communities, some architects and senior living providers are preparing for impending changes to what communities have to offer in terms of services and lifestyle. Read more

Innovative Senior Housing Needed for Multigenerational Households (12/19/2011) — The growing senior population and the struggling economy have combined to spur the growth of multigenerational households in the U.S., and innovative housing is needed for these various household structures, according to a Generations United study. Ways to adapt homes or properties to accommodate multiple generations should be developed, and local policies, codes, and regulations to adapting homes should be evaluated for situations involving additions or free-standing or temporarily semi-attached housing units. Read more

Going Forward, Senior Housing Industry Shaped by Consolidation, Medicare Cuts, and Rising Acuity (1214/2011) — The year 2011 was marked by huge mergers and acquisitions that served to consolidate the senior housing industry, along with a trend of rising acuity levels across the continuum of care, and senior living providers working to mitigate the impact of cuts to Medicare reimbursements. All three of these factors will continue to influence and shape 2012. Read more

Other topics:

Chicago Tribune: Affordable Rental Buildings Fill the Senior Housing Gap (02/02/2012)  — There’s a shortage of—and growing need or—affordable housing for low-income seniors, and some are thinking outside of the retirement community box by opting for affordable rentals, instead. The Chicago Tribune reports this story.

LeadingAge: Technology is Crucial in Future of Senior Care (12/08/2011) — Implementing technology into senior care has become increasingly important as the population ages and requires more efficient and effective methods of healthcare. Not-for-profit organization LeadingAge published a report informing senior care providers about innovative business and operational models that use technology, and includes case studies of 18 communities which deployed or implemented technology. Read more

Written by Alyssa Gerace