Sunday, May 12, 2019
In an annual survey conducted by Genworth, the average cost of a 1-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility in Oklahoma is $3,425 per month, and is expected to increase to $4,600 in the next decade. For Gretchen Harris, 72 of Norman, Oklahoma, this may not be feasible. She currently makes $4,600 on her pension and Social Security, and even if she sells her beloved home, the cost of getting older may be too much for her.
This is the fear of many in middle America. They make too much to qualify for Medicaid but do not make enough to pay the extravagant costs of long-term care, an industry that often caters to well-off individuals. A recent analysis in Health Affairs, pointedly titled “The Forgotten Middle,” defined middle-income Americans from the 41st to the 80th percentile in terms of financial resources and investigated home many of these American seniors will be caught in that terror.
By 2029, approximately 14.4 million people will fall into the middle-income category, almost double the current number. 60% of these individuals will need canes, walkers or wheelchairs to remain mobile, the analysis estimated, and 20% will need extensive help with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. These are better educated Americans that are not subject to poverty, but still may not be able to afford the care that they will depend on.
See Paula Span, Many Americans Will Need Long-Term Care. Most Won’t be Able to Afford It, New York Times, May 10, 2019.
Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.