Senior Care in need of new solutions
A variety of new resource constraints are putting pressure on the market for senior care services.
The ability of families to provide care is now more limited than during prior periods, both by the extent of single parents, of men and women alike pursuing work outside the home and of economic conditions that necessitate families relocating in order to remain employed. Taken together, logistics and geography mean that many adult children are today unable to care for their elderly parents even should they be willing to do so. The market has already begun to respond to this gap, with nationwide growth seen in the numbers of long-term care and assisted living facilities. Yet quality ranges enormously, from acceptable to deplorable, and cost can be prohibitive, all the more so in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis that depleted retirement funds, depressed home values and the ability to sell, and generally contracted household income.
RAND emphasizes that there will be increasing pressure for regulations of senior care facilities and highlights the crucial conflict between public-sphere concerns and society's reverence for personal liberties. IFTF adds that these pressure points will encourage some radical solutions to senior care, but it could also mean that if the market is privatized, the poorer elderly could be left in decaying or underfunded assisted-living facilities.
Sources:RAND, Nov 2010, page 5-7: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/RAND_Nov2010.pdf#page=5
Parker-Pope, Tara, “Now, Dad Feels as Stressed as Mom”, New York Times, 19 June 2010. Accessed 10/29/10 at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/weekinreview/20parkerpope.html
Keane, John F., “Assisted Living and Miscellaneous Medical Facilities Spur New Growth”, Insurance Journal, 7 May 2007. Accessed 10/29/10 at: http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/southcentral/2007/05/07/features/80227.htm
Pristin, Terry, “A Trying Time in Housing for Elderly”, New York Times, 30 June 2009. Accessed 10/29/10 at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/business/economy/01senior.html?ref=retirement_communities_and_assisted_living