The numbers are impressive if not staggering. Today, more than 46 million Americans are older than 65. And that total will swell to almost 100 million by 2060. With these big numbers come big questions: where are seniors who can’t take care of themselves going to live? And who is going to pay for it?
Royce and June Campbell just celebrated 69 years of marriage. But they need help to keep living together.
“Most of our residents are coming here, because they are at the end of their life, and maybe their kids don’t realize it yet,” said Dr. Kelley Newcomer, an Internal Medicine specialist at the Manchester Place Care Home.
Right now, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. And in about 30 years, 16 million Americans will have the disease, which is triple the current amount.
“In 10 years, the tsunami, the silver tsunami I’ve heard it called, is going to start, and we’re not equipped as a society to handle it,” said Dean Krasovitsky, the CEO of Manchester Place Care Homes.
A government study shows that 70 percent of Americans 65 and over will require some long-term care during their lifetime. Gut-wrenching choices often come down to an adult child’s power of attorney and personal finances.
“At a certain point you have to realize that now you’ve become the parent in a way,” said Krasovitsky.
The home where Royce and June live offers approximately a four-to-one ratio of patients to employees, skilled nursing, regular doctor visits, private rooms, and home cooked meals. But these services come at a $6,500 a month price tag for residents, which is paid for with personal savings or long-term care insurance.
Over eight million Americans receive long-term care annually, which can require over $25,000 in out-of-pocket expense through the end of the resident's life.
Informal caregivers, like family members, make up the vast majority and it's estimated that care represents nearly $470 billion of unpaid annual economic value.