Earlier this month the AARP released a new national scorecard measuring the quality of long-term care and support services provided by each state. The data is a clear reminder of the often drastic inequalities in senior care. As our New York elder law attorneys know, not all long-term care options are alike. The well-being and life satisfaction of residents at one location is often drastically different than of residents at others. The quality of the facility where a community member ends up if they ever need these services often depends on how much long-term care planning they have conducted.
The AARP scorecard analyzed the quality of services for the elderly and physically disabled on twenty five different criteria. Unfortunately, the data does not paint a flattering picture of the services and support offered in our state. New York ranked 41st in overall long-term care quality when compared with the rest of the country. The state was near the bottom of the pack in preventing the development of bed sores (a common indicator of neglect) and was found to be one of the worst at offering support for at-home family caregivers.
Professionals have repeatedly found that residents experience a better quality of life the longer they are allowed to stay in their own home without moving into a nursing facility. However, this data reveals that New York is dead last when it comes to the total percentage of home health patients. In other words, more than in other parts of the country, local seniors are forced to move into nursing homes because they are unable to secure the assistance they need while staying in their own home. As a New York Times editorial on the scorecard noted, “this is an ominous statistic given the drive to move larger numbers of people out of institutions and into community-based care.”
The state’s disappointing performance on these long-term care measurements should act as even more motivation for local residents to take their future into their own hands. For residents who plan ahead, steps can be taken to guarantee that resources will be available to provide high-quality long-term care. Our New York elder law attorneys can share information on options such as long-term care insurance which ensures that funds will be available for at-home care to allow one to age in place. Even if long-term care insurance is out of reach, other strategies may be available to help local residents position themselves to avoid ending up in an underperforming institution.
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