“As of today, the youngest of the nearly 70 million baby boomers is 55; the oldest is 74. Within the next decade, millions of them will need long-term care. Many will remain in their homes, with family or “drop-in” caregiver services lending a hand. Some will move in with relatives. Those who are most dependent on care might choose nursing homes. A diverse and expanding older population is looking for help.”
The National Interest recently had a fantastic article on the need for long term care for the Baby Boomers and the lack of regulation and oversight of the assisted living industry. The problem is that some ALFs provide care and assistance and may even have secured dementia units while others provide minimal or no assistance based on an admission assessment that needs to be updated and evolve as changes of condition warrant. The inconsistency can affect expectations and give a false sense of security. More options need to be explored. The National Interest analyzed data about what information was available to consumers.
“Unlike nursing homes, which are regulated by the federal government, the states oversee assisted living; they define what constitutes an assisted living residence, establish licensing requirements, and set quality standards.”
“Data from the states on assisted living is provided free to the public. All licensed residences are listed. While private search services might help consumers sort through options, it’s not clear how complete – or objective – they are. Some services exist primarily for marketing purposes; they collect fees from the residences they list.”
“Using criteria formulated from prior research, along with information provided by some states, we examined 39 key elements of each website. Those elements included the size of the facility, cost, license status, the insurance it accepts, and any special services offered, such as memory care. We also looked at each website’s usability – the ease in finding critical information.”
The conclusion: “True, the state websites are better than they were 15 years ago. But they are less than what they should be. Many of the elderly, the disabled, and the families who love them require more to make appropriate choices. When navigating the internet, the principle of “buyer beware” should not be the driver.”