Lowering Senior Care Costs Using Technology

There is an increasing demand for Long-term Care (LTC) in the country which is estimated to reach 27 million by the year 2050; this is according to a research conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center. LTC is given to patients with long-term or chronic diseases, mostly seniors who have complications and inability to monitor themselves. There are many existing LTC options offered to seniors like assisted living facilities and retirement homes. They offer around the clock services with equipments to monitor the patients, as needed. However, the senior care cost may be a burden to the patient and their family.

senior care technologyMany researches and programs have been created to find a solution to reduce the cost. The ideal situation is for the senior to stay at their houses, but the lack of equipments may hinder it from happening. According to a separate study, most of the seniors (90%) prefer to stay at their homes. This is why technology is continually being improved to make it affordable and convenient to use. Researchers are now looking for ways to improve the sensor technology where it can remotely detect the vitals and the overall health of the patient. This technology will reduce the cost since the patient will no longer stay long at the hospital for monitoring and check-up. It will likely reduce the patient’s stress in transportation.

The main purpose of the sensor is to alert the hospital whenever the patient is in an emergency; for instance of fire or a fall; but their capabilities are limited. The research makes the sensors more advanced by giving it the ability to detect the real-time health condition of the patient, making it a “smart sensor”. The sensor will send a regular report to the physician as well as an emergency report that detects abrupt changes in the health condition of the patient. Improving the sensor technology will definitely lower the cost of maintenance of long-term senior care. And it will give them a sense of independence and allow them to stay closer to their home and their family.

Assisted Living Centers and Families

Many families do not learn about the costs of long-term care until the crisis hits and many get the sort of rude awakening that people who underwent this experience felt, said Jon Howell, president and CEO of the Georgia Health Care Association, an industry group that represents assisted living centers, nursing homes and companies that coordinate home care across the state. Seventy percent of individuals now turning 65 will need long-term care at some point during their lives. Only a fraction of those who will need proper care have long-term care insurance, which can pay for services at home or in an elderly care facility or assisted living centers.

assistedlivingcentersSuch plans grew in popularity during the 90’s, but sales have dropped recently as some insurance providers exited the market and many of the remaining insurance providers have hit policyholders with steep premium increases. When speaking to civic groups, Howell said, he shares lots of key facts that catch individuals off guard, including: Medicare covers elderly care facility care after a hospitalization, but at day 21, a co-pay requirement kicks in that could cost up to $12,000 over the next 80 days of care. To qualify for State Medicaid programs, residents must effectively impoverish themselves, spending all but $2,000 of their non-exempt resources and also using all but $50 of their monthly Social Security checks to pay for their care.

Medicaid pays an average of $158 a day in Georgia for elderly care facility care; private pay prices are higher. Medicaid doesn’t cover assisted living, only nursing home care. After a resident’s death, State Medicaid programs can take the resident’s house equity and other resources in an estate to cover the price of care paid by the government, although there are protections for surviving spouses. The requirements represent a harsh reality for many once solidly middle-class individuals, individuals who have spent a lifetime working toward financial security, who find they have no option other than switching to State Medicaid programs to cover nursing home bills.

Common Questions About Hospice Care

Where can hospice care be provided?

Hospice can be offered wherever your family member or loved one resides, including:

  • In your loved one’s personal home – Hospices will bring all aspects of the hospital to your loved one’s private home, including equipment, medication and of course, the employees.
  • Assisted living and personal proper care homes – Hospice care can be offered in an assisted living facility or a private care home.  The hospice team works directly with the employees at the facility to coordinate proper care to your beloved relative or parents.
  • Nursing homes, long-term care (LTC) establishments and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) – Some patients reside in settings that provide higher levels of proper care (than private care houses or assisted living facilities), such as helped living facilities, long term care facilities and skilled nursing units.  The agency works directly with the employees of these facilities to make sure that your elderly loved ones receives proper care.
  • Brick and mortar hospice – Hospice is also offered in buildings specially dedicated to providing hospital care.

hospice_careCan you change hospice care providers?

When family members find themselves in a situation where they decide that their current hospital provider is not looking after a family member properly, family members are within their rights to change hospice providers.

How do you pay for hospice care?

Most hospice care facilities currently accept Medicare, there are several other ways that family members typically pay for hospice:

  • Private Insurance – Your elderly loved one may have a private insurance coverage that may cover all or part of the cost of hospice services.
  • Insurance from the Veterans Administration (VA) and other government insurance
  • Personal Payment – For those who do not have insurance coverage or are not eligible for Medicare, some prospective hospice patients may be in a financial position to pay for hospice services out of pocket.

Senior Care Costs

Millions of families are beginning to grapple with the one major health expense for which most Americans are not insured: long-term care. About 10 million elderly people currently rely on others for daily care, such as help getting dressed, preparing foods or taking medication. That number will only increase as more of the nation’s 78 million middle-agers enter old age. Nearly 7 in 10 people will need some way of long-term care after turning 65, according to the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute. “Nobody wants to go to a senior care facility, it’s the last resort,” says James Firman, president of the National Council on Aging. “People want to stay in their own house and if they can’t, they want to go to a place where they can get assistance but that still feels homelike.”

senior_careNursing houses are the most intense way of long-term care, including round-the-clock medical supervision. That level of senior care comes with a steep price tag: the average cost of a semi-private space last year was $81,000, according to a survey by insurance company MetLife. A private space ran more than $90,500. Fortunately most elderly people won’t require extended senior care facility care. Only 5 percent will need five years or more in a senior care facility.

Less intense alternatives include home-care solutions that offer help with foods and household chores, and boarding houses where some elderly people live with on-site caretakers. But like assisted living facilities, these solutions aren’t covered by Medicare, the government’s health care insurance option for elderly people, or private health insurance coverage. Plans for long-term care are available, but only about 5 percent of adults have them. Most family members don’t plan for long-term care, because often the need comes unexpectedly: an elder takes a bad fall or experiences a stroke. Cost is another problem, because policies can run $1,000 to $8,000 a year, based on a senior’s age, health and other aspects.