Caregiving experts say aging in place will be ‘a challenge for generations’

Experts with the University of Texas and University of Georgia explain why caregiving challenges are likely to persist for decades to come

Experts from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Georgia are weighing in on recent federal attention that senior caregivers have received after President Joe Biden highlighted these issues in his State of the Union address last month. The experts say that adequately serving seniors who prefer to age in place will be a “challenge for generations.”

Jacqueline Angel, the Wilbur J. Cohen professor of health and social policy at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs; and Toni P. Miles, the pope scholar in residence at the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers and professor emerita at UGA, co-authored an article that was published in the Waco Tribune-Herald that attempts to address these challenges and the need for more attention and resources.

“In high-income countries, a smaller number of families can assume [the caregiving] burden, and in the United States it is increasingly relegated to either the federal or state governments through Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” the pair wrote. “In the future, the government will be forced to play an even greater role in the care of dependent citizens. Individuals who are not fully independent will need the intervention and support of several formal and informal sources of support.”

The pair pointed out that attention paid to these issues in one of the highest-profile political speeches of the year helps underscore the need for “high-quality, affordable community-based care services to support family caregivers.” Most people do not understand that the Medicare program does not cover long-term care, and the pair contends that many in need of it are not prepared for its high costs.

“It provides only a short period of care after discharge from the hospital,” the article reads. “This is far short of what would be needed for an impaired elder to remain at home. The national average cost of a semi-private room in a long-stay home is $105,000 a year, according to a 2023 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.”

Because care burdens often fall on family members — particularly for seniors who overwhelmingly prefer to age in place — the pair contends that a “multifaceted approach is necessary and must involve all levels of government, as well as private and charitable organizations.”

Reverse mortgage professionals and retirement advisers have contended that older Americans could help fulfill some of their long-term care needs by using the proceeds from a reverse mortgage.

“[A couple I previously profiled] considered a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), also called a reverse mortgage, which can provide: 1. Additional cash income to pay for things like LTC premiums or other costs, and 2. Additional liquidity later in life if you pay interest on your HECM,” retirement adviser wrote Jerry Golden in a column published by Kiplinger, a personal finance website.

This option helped the couple discover that their retirements could go further than they originally thought.

“You might […] find that your retirement plan can pay for more than it could just a few years ago,” Golden said, referencing the couple’s use of a HECM product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular Articles

3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please