Aging-in-Place Should Not Be Expensive – And That Needs To Change

By Jeffrey J. Downey, nursing home attorney serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia

It is no surprise that people want to stay in their home and avoid the potential neglect and reduced quality of life at a nursing facility, explains nursing home attorney Jeffrey J. Downey.

In a survey conducted by Silvernest, a website dedicated to helping older Americans find roommates and alternative senior housing, 90 percent of seniors would rather age-in-place than move into a nursing home facility.

As we near the beginning of the third year of the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates nearly 140,000 died as a result of Covid-19.

Aside from the first 90 days, nursing homes are extremely expensive and will quickly drain a family’s assets, unless the patient is on Medicaid. On average a nursing home costs between $7,500 to $9,000 a month, which is around double the costs for at-home care or assisted living. Furthermore, nursing homes also that have large numbers of Medicaid patients are often understaffed and can suffer serious neglect.

But alternatives do exist to age in place or seek nursing homes that are smaller.  The Mustard Seed Project is a great model for avoiding nursing home placement, explains nursing home attorney Jeffrey J. Downey.  The project current exists in in the state of Washington.  State and federal governments need to provide programs to encourage more companies to follow home placement models similar to the Mustard Project.  Smaller, non-profit nursing facilities generally provide better care than large nursing home chains, explains Downey.

Another alternative living setup for seniors that has grown is the Green House project.  A non-profit that started in Tupelo, Mississippi in 2003, has grown to 360 facilities across 32 states, 90 percent of which homes are operated as non-profits.  In comparison, there are 15,000 nursing homes across the country of which two-thirds operate as for-profit businesses.

The idea of aging-in-place has captured the business market.  The nation’s largest senior advocacy group, AARP, has put together a collaboration with home improvement chain Lowe’s to provide strategies and information to help living spaces more accessible for older adults to stay in their homes safely and comfortably as they age.

I’ve written articles about the ongoing attempts by the nursing home industry to avoid accountability while maintaining stockholder gains.

We learned that lesson during the pandemic, as smaller facilities were much better equipped to prevent transmission of Covid-19.

Elders planning to stay at home should engage in early financial planning to set up a special trust to preserve their eligibility for Medicaid.  Shifting income to children with the understanding that money will be used for parent care is another strategy used by Estate planners, where the kids are financially secure and trustworthy.  It is very important to have a will in place with an advance director and Power of Attorney.

Here is a link to assist you through my website for such information.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to neglect from a nursing home or assisted living facility or other health care provider, contact the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C.

Contact Information:

The Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey, P.C.
8270 Greensboro Drive, Suite 810
McLean, Virginia 22102
Phone: 703-564-7318
Fax: 703-883-0108