Increase in Number of Assisted Living Facilities Often Leads to Decrease in Direct Care

By: Shawn Rader

In a New York Times opinion article from Sunday, September 1st, written by Geeta Anand, she notes that the number of assisted living facilities have nearly tripled in the past 20 years and are creating a lucrative return to its investors — nearly 15 percent over the past five years.

Despite this increase, staff reductions are taking place which only makes sense if seniors don’t need much assistance but if they do, it’s a problem. Investing money into the physical plant, which is often gorgeous, is usually tied to cuts in direct care. Most residents, Anand says, need substantially more care than they are getting, with half of the residents being over the age of 85 (a trend that is accelerating).

This is important because her opinion is that with complaints against assisted living facilities mounting, the real problem is lack of regulation. Whereas nursing homes are regulated, inspected and graded for quality, the Federal government does not license or oversee assisted living facilities or have the state’s set minimal rules.

It is best if the industry recognizes these issues right away and comes up with a plan rather than become the object of legislation.

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