Washingtonians for a Responsible Future

State should help seniors get long-term care without going broke

February 11, 2018 01:22 PM

Updated February 11, 2018 07:08 PM

As the owner of two adult family homes, I meet people on a regular basis who are unprepared when entering the long-term care system.

They don’t come to us because of their best-laid plans; they show up when there is a crisis.

An example of a common family experience is when Mom might have a stroke or other diagnosis that impacts her independence. Maybe she is seen in the hospital and then referred to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation.

Once rehabilitation is done, Mom may not be able go back home alone. The changes in her independence make home an unsafe discharge. Her only daughter is the mother of three young children, and works full time, so it’s not an option for Mom to live with her daughter.

Most families are not sure what options are available. Can they hire a caregiver full time so that Mom can stay at home? A 24-hour caregiver is about $648 per day in our state.

Adult family homes are a great choice, but even with our low rates, people struggle to find options that work for them.

Once they learn about options they are often shocked to find that Medicare or other health insurance does not cover the costs of long-term care.

Very few families have saved for this possible need, and most Washingtonians over 65 will eventually need long-term care services.

The aging population across the state is set to double by 2030, and the percentage of family members available to provide caregiving support is projected to decline dramatically, leaving Washington facing an impending long-term care financing crisis.

The Long-Term Care Trust Act is an important part of the answer to this growing challenge for families, and our state.

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