America’s Nursing Home Shortage: What It Means for You

You may never step foot in a nursing home. That’s the big headline over at CNBC this month.

Sounds like good news, right? Well, maybe not, when you consider the reason why you’ll never see the inside of a skilled nursing facility. It’s not so much that you won’t need to… you just won’t be able to. There aren’t enough beds.

Americans are getting older than ever, and experts expect that trend to continue. Meanwhile, nursing homes are on the decline (and growing more expensive every year). Consider the following:

• In 2006, there were 78.6 million Baby Boomers in the United States.

• The majority of those Baby Boomers are already 65 or older. Most will have turned 70 by 2020.

• By 2030, about 20 percent of the nation’s population will be 65 or older. (By comparison, that number stands at only 13% in 2015.)

• Even as Americans get older and medical science improves, the dementia epidemic rages on, with most statistical models forecasting a rapid increase in dementia over the next few years.

Despite that increased demand, nursing homes are shrinking:

• Between 2000 and 2009, the total number of nursing homes in the U.S. shrank by 9%.

• Between 2007 and 2011, new construction of nursing homes shrank by 33%.

• As of 2012, there were only 1.66 million nursing home beds in the country, with an occupancy rate of 89%. (Experts expect that occupancy rate to rise dramatically.)

• In that same time, the cost of nursing home care has skyrocketed, averaging somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year. Medicare offers little to no assistance for those costs.

And yet we need nursing homes now more than ever:

• About 70% of Baby Boomers will require long-term care at some point in their old age. That represents 54 million people.

• Of those, some 13 million will require at least three years in a skilled nursing facility.

In review, that leaves 13 million people vying for 300,000 available beds. With so little supply for so much demand, costs will inevitably rise.

Adding insult to injury, the number of doctors in America is on the decline too, making good care even scarcer (and more expensive).

So what does it all mean for you? Start planning today! These statistics paint a picture of true-life scenarios that New Jersey families just like yours are facing right now.

The media doesn’t give a lot of attention to this issue (CNBC notwithstanding), but it’s a real one. And if the statistics hold up, more families are going to face it in the near future.

It might sound scary, but advance planning obviates fear. There’s no need to panic. Simply plan instead. CNBC says it best:

“For [long-term care] procrastinators, the chances of you personally stepping foot, or being wheeled into, a nursing facility may indeed seem pretty slim. And those who have opted to put this issue on the back burner may find themselves completely shut out as administrators at these skilled nursing facilities will have the option of selecting those who can afford the care versus those who can’t.”

Take control of your future. Call our office to find out how we can help.