There is a crisis coming for Senior Citizens in the United States. In fact, it’s already here. You may have heard of the “Silver Tsunami,” the wave of baby boomers reaching retirement age over the next decade. The growing number of Seniors will overwhelm the amount of housing and healthcare resources that will perpetuate the growing crisis. The perfect storm of exploding demand, limited supply and a very fragmented and ill-prepared healthcare system will continue to put many Seniors in precarious situations. The stated goal of the Institute for Quality in Senior Living (IQSL) is to provide information to Seniors, their families, care providers, healthcare professionals, Senior Living professionals and any other stakeholder. The landscape for Seniors is a very complex one consisting of healthcare services, legal, financial and housing resources. Our intent is to try to be an unfiltered resources – a beacon of information in the otherwise confusing and evolving world of Senior healthcare and Senior Living.
There are 3 driving forces behind the Institute for Quality in Senior Living (IQSL). They are:
- To educate
- To alarm!!!
- To motivate
We will present facts from various perspectives that should create a sense of urgency. We will also present courses of action to take, depending on each individual situation. We will assist with decision making tools that we hope will help you whether you are seeking tools to be proactive or seeking to solve problems that have already occurred.
The National Center for Health Statistics published its report “Long Term Care Services in the United States: 2013 Overview” that detailed the current state of Senior Living. Among the key facts is that in 2013 there were 8 million people being served by more than 58,500 paid caregivers. The data demonstrates overwhelmingly that Senior Living will continue to grow in the coming years largely due to the baby boomers coming of age. According to the CDC report The State of Aging & Health in America 2013, “Two factors—longer life spans and aging baby boomers—will combine to double the population of Americans aged 65 years or older during the next 25 years to about 72 million. By 2030, older adults will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population.”
The Senior demographic is the largest single group of healthcare consumers and the demographic is projected to continue to grow as indicated in the federally funded studies cited above. The founder of the Institute for Quality in Senior Living (IQSL), Brett Frankenberg, has spent the majority of his career serving the Senior industry and has seen facilities, insurance companies, doctors, therapists, therapy companies, nursing home operators, home health operators and many, many others manipulate the system so that it serves their own interests first, and the Senior’s interests second. Please do not misconstrue any allegations of wrongdoing – most of these operators have conducted themselves well within the guidelines of what is legal and allowable under the law. It’s just that the consumer has been kept at arm’s length for so long by not being provided all the information as to why certain decisions were made at certain times. By pulling back the veil, we believe that armed with all the pertinent information, including why decisions are made the way they are made, will help put the Senior and his or her family in more control of the situation. As the complexity of the situation increases it becomes harder and harder to provide this information to Seniors and their families, especially when unforeseen events dictate the need for change.
Healthcare has never been an industry that has been considered transparent. For years, patients happily complied with whatever their doctors prescribed and recommended because insurance companies paid the bill. Without “skin in the game,” patients were unconcerned with costs. Times have changed however, and with the steep and steady increase in healthcare costs, patients have become healthcare consumers and are bearing more and more of the financial burden. Yet, the true costs of healthcare services are not published and remain somewhat opaque. While making all costs transparent is a worthwhile long term objective of IQSL, helping consumers to be informed and to ask the right questions is where we believe we have to start. Advocacy is a persistent theme that permeates all the work we do at IQSL.
One of the major themes we will highlight repeatedly is that healthcare services and Senior Living are not the same thing. This fact underscores the need for planning for the golden years or be at risk of having our options limited by the confines of the various systems that Seniors tend to fall into. Here again we visit the idea of freedom through our resources.
Our society conditions us to save for retirement, but what does that really mean? If you believe the marketing collateral associated with most brokerage houses and mutual funds, the picture of retirement is painted on the beach or golf course, enjoying an art class or writing the great American novel. The true picture of retirement however must now be extended into the 9th or 10th decade of life as Americans are living longer and in many cases, are in danger of outliving their financial resources. Indeed, according to the report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics, more than half the residents in Assisted Living are 85 or older. That is why we devote some of our focus on the legal and financial planning for the Senior years to allow those who are empowered to do so, the opportunity to understand the legal framework that allows a Senior and/or their family to plan for a long and high quality life.
We hope to provide valuable information and to create a sense of urgency for you to start taking action, regardless of how old you are. Perhaps you arrived here because you are concerned about your future and want to plan. Perhaps you found us out of duress driven by changes in the abilities of someone you love. Either way, we are here to help. The objective our next post will be to help the reader understand the need for planning and begin our discussion about the financial aspect of Senior Living.