The face of long-term care in New York continues to change. In the past, when seniors were in need of close, around-the-clock care their main option was to move into a skilled nursing home in their community, usually owned by the county itself. These public facilities long acted as the main source of institutional support for ailing seniors.
But things are changing. For one thing, many more seniors are being proactive about their long-term care, creating elder law estate plans that ensure they have more options, including at-home care that allows them to age in place.
On top of that, more and more county owned and operated nursing homes are being sold off to private investors. Finances are at the center of the switch, as tight local budgets are making it very difficult for local policymakers to justify losing significant funds year over year on this care. Recent reports have underscored the situation, noting that virtually all of the county-run nursing homes in New York are operating in the red.
This week, WGRZ news report on the most recent sale of a county-run home. According to the report, this week a private investors officially put a down payment on the Chautaugua County Home. The group reportedly purchased the home for $16.5 million. The down payment was 10% of the total, made by VestraCare, the private entity looking to operate the facility.
Even though the funds were deposited, the matter is not entirely settled. Selling the county facility remains a source of controversy, and a hearing was set for this week.
The County Executive is a staunch supporter of the change, noting his belief that the sale will improve the quality of care, open up space for more seniors, and help the local economy via property taxes. Conversely, opponents have been adamant in their concern that privatizing the home will only make care worse, while harming the employees who work at the facility.
These have long been the arguments made by proponents and opponents of these measures. Some studies seem to back up the concerns about care quality with privatization, as the drive for profit will undoubtedly be more direct for a privately owned facility than a public one. Though, there is much variety, and it is obviously not a foregone conclusion that a private home would result in more elder neglect or abuse.
All of these trends should act as a spur for all New York families to take matter into their own hands and prepare for potential long-term care. At the very least, it is important to have options, instead of being forced into a situation that is not ideal.