Aging in PlaceGuest Author

Can America afford to age in place?

By July 24, 2018 No Comments
senior sitting with cane

One of our goals is to share information with each other about where and how we’ll live as we grow older. Our research and outreach often lead us to other valuable and interesting sources of information. Joy Johnston recently commented about Staying Put or Moving On, which we appreciate. She wrote the following article on aging in place. See her bio, below, and explore her site memoriesproject.com. She has many valuable insights about Alzheimers and caregiving.- Kristi


There’s not enough money allocated for elders to age in place

While many people, including myself, would prefer to age in place, for financially strapped communities throughout America, the trend is straining limited resources.

An article about my mother’s home state of Tennessee and its struggle to care for a rapidly growing older population is a scenario taking place in many states. Many state, county, and city budgets are already overwhelmed with issues ranging from high unemployment to the opioid epidemic. I read one article that said older people calling 911 due to falls at home was straining EMS budgets. While the federal government contributes money to elder care each year via the Older Americans Act, it’s simply not enough to address the needs of a growing elder population.

In Tennessee, thousands of older people are on waiting lists for government assistance programs. The organizations do the best they can, but those cited in the article said more resources are needed, and officials are going to have to address the issue soon.

Transportation was listed as a major issue. While some older people may be physically healthy and not need in-home assistance, they may no longer be able to drive and need transportation options to maintain their quality of life and independence. This, of course, was an issue for my parents. Thankfully, they did have a county-funded shuttle service that they used for years. (Most county officials were against the idea of the shuttle, however. Its funding is always on the verge of being cut.)

Meal delivery was another major need. The meal delivery service also serves as a status check on the older person, so it has a dual purpose. For those in rural areas, this can be a lifeline.

In Tennessee, supporting someone staying in their home costs $3,000-$15,000 annually, while putting a person in a facility costs over $50,000 annually. You don’t have to be a math whiz to see what is the financially efficient solution. Unfortunately, the federal government has not been proactive in addressing the issue. Tennessee reports some success at the state level, working with community organizations.

Joy Johnston has been a digital journalist since 2002 and has worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, About.com, and AOL. She currently serves as a National Content Editor for Cox Media Group, where she specializes in creating viral content that drives web traffic and social engagement.
Joy also works to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s, cancer, and caregiving through her blog, The Memories Project, and through essays that have appeared in digital and print formats. This article was originally published here.

Joy Johnston

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