Why More Americans will Need Long Term Assisted Living

Feb 19, 2021 1:24 PM ET

iCrowdNewswire   Feb 19, 2021  8:24 AM ET

With more and more Americans living longer, it is important to know how, if at all, this will affect you. The options for senior living have expanded in recent times, and the more information you have at your disposal, the better you will be able to navigate this process.

We will all grow older, and thus the improvement in American life expectancy will indeed affect us all. But on a more specific level, it is important to know how the aging population will both indirectly and directly affect you.

Over the next 40 years, the number of Americans aged 65 and older will more than double. This means the country will have a population of over-65’s of more than 80 million in 2040. Also, the number of adults aged 85 and older will quadruple between 2000 and 2040. What you need to remember is that this will have an impact on all aspects of society as the nation is aging. More people will need help with basic personal care and will encounter medical complications. With people living much longer, it also means that more Americans will need long-term assisted living in the near future.

As aging will affect us all, we all need to be informed as to what the options and choices are. The focus here is on assisted living which has seen the biggest growth in the US out of all the other options out there.

What is Assisted Living?

Keep in mind that the definition and the way in which assisted living is perceived and implemented is relative to the state you live in and the facility or management company that provides the housing.

It is therefore important to ask as many questions as possible and do the requisite research before choosing an assisted living option. Frontier Management, which provides a number of senior living options countrywide, is a great place to start your research and get all your questions answered by professionals in this field.

If you find you are no longer able to do the daily chores you once found easy and need help to care for your home and yourself, it might be time to consider assisted living. In simple terms, the idea of assisted living is that older adults move to a place where they can get help with daily living tasks. These kinds of tasks include simple things like cooking, dressing, bathing, and generally making sure that day-to-day tasks are done safely and comfortably.

The kind of facility varies greatly. It could be large or small, privately owned, corporate, or not-for-profit. What is most important is that the facility offers a level of care or assistance to senior adults. The American Health Care Association reports that there are approximately 28900 assisted living communities in the US, thus making it a massive market. The fact of the matter will be that not all these communities will meet the standards you want, nor provide the extras you need to make your life there enjoyable. It will be about wading through the numerous assisted care options and finding the perfect place for your needs if this is the type of senior living that is for you.

It is important to remember that assisted living is different from requiring 24-hour care. Residents of assisted living communities or facilities each have different needs and those facilities should cater to those individual needs. They offer older adults independence and security in a home-like setting.

How Can This Affect You?

  • Indirectly: as more people live longer, the state will need more tax dollars to provide healthcare, services, housing, and hospitalization. Prices will go up, increasing the cost of medical care for all. You must be aware of this and expect these increases to happen. Planning ahead can save you a great deal of heartache in the future.
  • Directly: we will all get older, so all of us will have to think of what we want for our later years after we have retired. Will your parents or the elderly members of your family need assisted living, and if so, where? Close to home or close to friends, or close to their nearest hospital? These are the things that you must think about as it will need to be decided at some point.

Assisted living is something we should all plan for. A survey conducted in 2019 found that $48612 was the median annual cost for assisted living in the US. This was an increase of over $3000 annually, which means that this could be a costly comfort. While this may seem like a lot of money, if it has been planned for, the costs will not come as a surprise. Considering the options of what is available, what the costs might be, and how to go about implementing them is an important part of getting older for everyone.

The options for saving towards assisted living are diverse. While Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living, you can take the power into your own hands by planning early. Long-term care insurance, life insurance, pensions, investments, veterans benefits, and cashing in large assets such as a house offer some different options to cover those costs.

There are a number of questions to ask when you start considering assisted living for yourself or a loved one. Consider the type of facility, the level of care required, and the additional benefits that you are looking for.

Remember that being part of an assisted living community can also be a positive step as we get older. The advantage of having assistance in daily chores is clear. Beyond that, the comfort of having peers with similar life trajectories can reduce loneliness. There are also often activities and options to ensure that assisted living is not only comforting but stimulating. It should not be seen as the end of a journey but perhaps a new direction in the journey of life.

The aim is to ensure that people do not suffer from what is a commonplace occurrence, living a full and fulfilled working life, to then suddenly find that there are many things that are both unplanned and exceedingly difficult to deal with after retirement.

It is worth being aware of all the options up front and to plan early.