USA Today recently reported that the numbers of elderly (defined in the article as the population of people 85 and older) living in nursing homes is declining. The article points out that these numbers don’t include those living in Assisted Living Facilities, which may in fact reflect a good portion of the 85 and older population.
This is a good thing, as it may mean that people are living better instead of just longer. I say that for a couple of reasons: 1) you have to be functioning at a certain level to be in assisted living, 2) it is my opinion that it is always better not to be in a nursing home.
The article also points out the sad fact that the decline is most likely in the “upper-income white population” who has the financial ability to take advantage of options other than nursing home placement. Everyone else will likely have nursing homes as their only option. The other sad fact is that “the average nursing home patient runs out of money within six months and must go on Medicaid” – so while these individuals will go broke, and eventually the Medicaid system may go broke, the nursing home industry continues to make money.