Mature Market Tip: Start Saving Now – Assisted Living Crunch Predicted

<MED2097 Mature Market Experts

The mature market . . .  boomers . . . seniors, we write about them every day. Why? Because Americans are getting older – in fact, way older. We are on our way to a profound shift in our population; one which will have costly impacts on our nation. The U.S. Census Bureau projects  that by 2030, when all of the nation’s 76 million surviving baby boomers will be 65 and older, nearly one in five U.S. residents will be 65 and older. This age group is projected to double by 2050, increasing to 88.5 million from the 38.7 million we currently have in 2008. The Census Bureau projects that the 85 and older population growth will be even bigger, tripling from 5.4 million in 2008 to 19 million in 2050.

On the one hand it is pretty clear that there will soon be a lot of older Americans. So the next question is, how many of them will require assistance, and what type? Lest you think the impact will be small, consider this comment from the Dartmouth geriatrician, Dr. Dennis McCullough: “…nine out of ten people who live into their 80’s will wind up unable to take care of themselves, either because of frailty or dementia.” According to Dr. McCullough, “Everyone thinks they will be the lucky one, but we can’t go along with that myth.”

The International Longevity Center’s Caregiving Project for Older Americans is very concerned that older Americans are not doing enough planning now. The Center estimates that about 1.4 million older Americans currently live in nursing homes, nearly 6 million receive care at home, and significant numbers go completely without needed help. They report that “…the growing disparity between the demand and supply of care giving services will only worsen with the aging of baby boomers in this country.”

The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information says that “…at least 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some long-term care services at some point in their lives, and over 40 percent will need care in a nursing home for some period of time.”The Clearinghouse cautions that contrary to most people’s opinions, “Medicare and private health insurance programs do not pay for the majority of long-term care services that most people need – help with personal care such as dressing or using the bathroom independently.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that the coming demographic tsunami will overwhelm our assisted living, independent living, home care, and nursing homes infrastructures. Currently most assisted living facilities in this country report occupancy rates at 90% or higher. The New York Times reported recently that after several years of overbuilding followed by soft markets, “The National Investment Center found fewer than 23,000 units under construction in the 100 biggest metropolitan areas.” If you take an arbitrary average about 1.5 persons per unit, our future residential shortfall looks to be severe.

In another New York Times article Kathryn A. Sweeney, a managing director for United States Senior Housing for GPT Group, an Australian real estate company, was quoted in a similar vein about the eventual housing shortage: “If you plan to be a resident, you need to be saving your pennies now,” she said.”

About the Author: John Brady is publisher of www.Topeldercares.com.  Visitors to that site will find a directory of eldercare facilities, a Forum, and helpful articles on dealing with eldercare.

What Happened to Good Nutrition?

j0436518 mature market food

For the mature market living in an assisted living community, maintaining good nutrition is one of the most important ways to insure a long and healthy life. Food, for better or for worse, is the fuel we run on. Just like vehicles, bad fuel can cause us many expensive and troublesome problems, especially as we age. Unfortunately, even with this knowledge, nutrition inside many assisted living communities can be more of an afterthought than a norm.  Assisted living communities are not federally regulated so each state develops its own regulations and this can be challenging when choosing a new home. Nutrition, foodservice, and sanitation guidelines can vary widely across the country.

Educating yourself on senior nutrition guidelines, coordinating with doctors and creating good communication with the staff, both on the floor and in the kitchen, is key. It is necessary to ask the administration for specific information, such as:

  • Does the facility have a full time dietician who is certified in proper nutrition and special dietary needs?
  • Also, does the facility offer residents ongoing nutritional education so they can be involved in their own health regime? Nutritional knowledge changes as we age, so assisted living communities should be teaching updated nutrition to their residents.


As a family caregiver, you are responsible for developing a proactive plan and checklist of personal nutrition requirements to help your loved one avoid problems later. In other words, set your expectations and ask many questions. For instance:

  • Is the community actively involved in determining and planning for each individual resident’s nutritional needs?
  • Will the dietician sit down with you and plan a course of healthy action in regards to your loved one’s nutritional and caloric needs?
  • Does the community welcome unannounced visits to the kitchen? Those kitchens that have the highest of food quality and cleanliness standards will be happy to show you the kitchen – at least when it is not in the middle of a meal rush.

Ask questions about commonly overlooked topics like:

  • When are meals served and is this a regular schedule?
  • What happens if a meal is skipped by a resident for any reason?
  • If a resident needed assistance at mealtime, who is available to help them?
  • Can the facility accommodate special needs diets like vegetarian, salt-free, kosher, etc?
  • Are residents given access to healthy foods and snacks? Take a look at the menus and check that they are being followed.
  • Eating fast foods and highly processed foods leads to excessive intakes of fat and cholesterol, obesity, higher intakes of sodium and insufficient vitamins and minerals. How much processed foods are in the daily menu? 
  • Asking questions about food safety practices like sanitation may be the last thing on your mind when you are considering an assisted living home but because of the dangers of food contaminations it shouldn’t be. The elderly have a much higher risk of having a fatal reaction to food contaminants and food-born illnesses than the general population. Asking how and where the food is prepared along with how they transport and ensure temperature control during delivery are all valid questions to ask assisted living staff

Here are a few more simple steps to make certain your loved one is receiving and eating properly prepared and nutritious foods.

  • Is the assisted living facility providing low-fat healthy choices?
  • Do they present dishes that are visually colorful, full of aroma and tempting in flavors so that the residents want to consume them?
  • Are they consistently including heart healthy and high fiber dietary alternatives?
  • Are beverages provided on a constant basis? Being hydrated and consuming more fiber helps to create regularity and prevents bowel impactions and serious health issues like the breaking down of skin.
  • Are liquid dietary supplements available for those that are unable to eat hard food?
  • To help assist you with a guide to what and how much of any item you or your loved one should consume visit the USDA’s website, MyPyramid.gov. The site includes personalized eating plans along with interactive tools.

     

     

     

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joppel Solves Medicare Confusion

For any of you who’ve been challenged by the intricacies of Medicare, supplemental coverage and drug coverage, you’ll be glad to know there’s finally a solution.

Joppel is a free service created by a team with over 65 years of experience in healthcare to assist seniors and their caregivers navigate the difficult task of choosing appropriate health insurance. According to John Hobson, president of Joppel, “We wanted to create easy to use, consumer-friendly tools that provide transparency of information and allow the consumer to compare all plans side by side.”

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How to Interview an Assisted Living Activity Director

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Having been an activity director for four years, I truly enjoy when families collaborate on a plan to get their loved ones involved in the activities in my community.

When first touring an assisted living community, it is very important to receive a copy of the activities calendar. Most seniors who are transitioning to assisted living have been very active in their communities prior to the transition.

It is very important that they continue to be active and feel a part of their community. Here are some recommendations to make that more likely.

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Mexico’s Growing Assisted Living Market Targets U.S. Retirees

It appears that Mexico is looking to combine cost advantages and the resort-like experience to compete for U.S.-based mature market and assisted living customers.  As featured in the Dallas Morning News.

By LAURENCE ILIFF / The Dallas Morning News
liliff@dallasnews.com

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico – Laredo native Alice Edwards and her helicopter pilot husband have an active lifestyle in this picturesque town popular among retired Texans.

But the 60-somethings are also the new owners of a townhouse in Mexico’s first assisted-living development aimed at the U.S. market, Cielito Lindo.

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