Urge US Senate to Propose Alternative to Nursing Homes for Seniors

Target: Bill Nelson, Chairman of US Senate of Special Committee on Aging

Goal: Insist on creating a better way to care for aging or ill seniors as nursing homes shut their doors due to financial struggles

The frail elderly are facing the dilemma of where to live when they can no longer take care of themselves on their own. Those who are in the age bracket of 85 and older are the fastest growing age group with expectations of 6.6 million filling that range by the year 2020. Driven by President Obama and Congressional leaders’ constraints on the Medicare budget, many nursing homes are shutting their doors claiming that it is no longer financially feasible or medically warranted to house residents. Fortunately, some US states have already begun implementing a new model that provides managed care for patients at home or at adult day care centers, which is proving to be less expensive with better medical results. Urge the Senate Special Committee on Aging to adopt this new model of elderly care for all US states.

Challenges surface when aging adults need more care than can be provided and family members are forced to construct the best plan of care giving. Eighty to 90 percent of surveyed elders say they want to remain in their homes as long as they can, even if suffering from a debilitation or illness. But families have a hard time finding a trustworthy home aide and nursing homes are becoming fewer. So what are the other options?

Organizations such as Staying in Place, a nonprofit based out of Woodstock, NY, assist people age 50 and older with free or low-cost transportation, social activities and recommendations for home health care agencies. Other free or low-cost services include adult day care centers, regular staff visits, or Meals on Wheels, a volunteer organization that prepares and delivers daily, nutritious meals to seniors.

Jason A. Helgerson, the Medicaid director for New York State is encouraging the switch from nursing homes to managed care, stating that with home health care services, aging people are able to stay and thrive in their home environment longer. This also has a lower cost to taxpayers. Insist that Congress implement a healthier alternative to nursing homes by providing home health care to aging Americans via Medicare plans.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Nelson,

According to the American Health Care Association, the number of nursing homes has declined nationally by nearly 350 in the past six years. With both Medicare and Medicaid budgets being substantially cut, there are not enough resources to maintain them. Fortunately, there can be a better solution — to provide home health care services to aging or elderly Americans.

By implementing home health care, elders and those who are suffering from chronic health issues are now able to preserve their independence, living comfortably and safely at home while still receiving the medical care they need. I urge you provide the option of Medicare-paid home care services, reducing taxpayers costs and providing a safer and more effective way to care for seniors.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: melodi2 on Stock.xchng

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