Nebraska Needs More Elder Care Programs Immediately

Justification for State-Funded Elder Care Program

By 2030, 20% of the U.S. population will be comprised of individuals aged 65 years and over, with marked increases in those aged 85 and beyond- this is expected to accelerate as time moves forward.  According to demographic trends released in 2015 by the Department of Health and Human Services of Nebraska, Nebraska is expected to experience a 75% increase in its 65 and over population by 2030. This increase will drive the population of those 65+  from 240,000 individuals in 2010 to 400,000 by 2030; an additional 14% increase is expected by 2050. As the Baby Boomer generation ages and lives longer, Nebraska will find a larger 65-84 population with its largest subsect being 85+. (1)

 

With this accelerated population increase among those aged 65+, Nebraska will also experience financial strains in relation to the physical ailments and disabilities associated with age-related decline as well as neurocognitive and behavioral health implications among this population group. According to NE Dept. of Economic Development, the disability rate in this population group is more than three times higher than in the general population  (1) Additionally, more than 80% of those aged 65+ are living above 150% of the poverty line requiring social assistance and state aid for medical assistance. (1)

 

Without the implementation of evidence-based programs to address the chronic ailments and disabilities correlated to long-term medical intervention and institutionalization, Nebraska  will continue to face two unnecessary obstacles: The first, excessive spending on long term care services. According to the 2016-2017 Medicaid Annual Report for the state of Nebraska, $813,326,713 was spent on Long-Term Care Services compared to $784,814,183 spent in the previous year (2) and 40% of the 2017 LTC Service allotment was spent on those in Nursing Facilities alone.(3)  The second,  continue to place added strain on an already fragile nursing facility system.Because of the disparity in rural areas, the nursing facility industry in the state of Nebraska is limited in medical,nursing, mental health, and rehab professionals. There are limited financial resources for individuals to use toward institutionalized settings and there are very few physical locations available to service the increasing old and oldest old population (85+). For the 400,000 Nebraskans aged 65+ projected by 2030,  Nebraska currently has only 224 Long Term Care Facilities comprised of 16,733 licensed beds. 23 of these building are equipped to provide Alzheimer’s Care (2)

 

It is imperative to develop a community-based program integrating the medical, rehabilitation, and social models of service delivery for two reasons: (1)  lower spending related to long term care services and physical health ailments associated with the aged population, and (2) prevent unnecessary institutionalization within the nursing facility system of Nebraska.

 

Conclusion: Nebraska Needs More Elder Care Programs Immediately

Resources
  • (1) United States, Department of Health and Human Services Nebraska, Division of Medicaid and Longer Term Care – State Unity on Aging. (2015). FFY 2016 – 2019 Plan for Aging Services. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from http://dhhs.ne.gov/medicaid/Aging/Documents/AgingServicesStatePlanFY2015-FY2019.pdf
  • (2) United States, Department of Health and Human Services Nebraska, Division of Medicaid & Long Term Care. (2017, December 1). Nebraska Medicaid Reform Annual Report for State Fiscal Year 2016-2017. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from http://dhhs.ne.gov/Reports/Medicaid Annual Report-2017.pdf
  • (3) United States, Department of Health and Human Services Nebraska, Division of Medicaid & Long Term Care. (2015, November 1). Nebraska Medicaid Reform Annual Report for State Fiscal Year 2015-2016. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from http://dhhs.ne.gov/medicaid/Documents/Attachment 1 – SFY 2015 Medicaid Report.pdf
  • (4) United States, Department of Health and Human Services Nebraska, Division of Public Health – Licensure Unit. (n.d.). LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES. Retrieved from http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Documents/LTCRoster.pdf

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