Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Faltering Economy Blamed for Stranded Eldercare

Two articles in today’s issue of the Wall Street Journal examined the eldercare market from two different angles. One article highlighted recent budget woes at more than 15 states in the U.S., which resulted in funding cut for home and community care services. The fragile and the disabled are hit particularly hard as states like Alabama, Massachusetts, and Alabama started to scale back various Medicaid Waiver programs usually targeting this vulnerable population. These beneficiaries will also find longer waiting lists, reduced state subsidies, or complete elimination of reimbursement for certain home support services. Worst of all, since there is no light at the end of the tunnel for our economy, more cuts are likely, according to the article.

A separate article looked into an AARP report released recently. The report found that families who care for clinically ill relatives increasingly felt the pinch both economically and psychologically. As high as 34 million Americans provide unpaid care to their loved ones at a certain point in any given year. Their services carry a hefty $375 billion price tag in 2007, up from $350 billion in 2006.

Combined together, the two articles painted a grim picture of the eldercare market where the fragile and the disabled are left with a shrinking pool of helpers and rising cost of care. Who will bail them out?

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