The MLO Minute: By, Dennis McAndrews, Esq.
It is no secret that the United States, and virtually all of the Western World, is experiencing an aging population. As this phenomenon unfolds, the marketplace is responding with a variety of programs designed to meet the needs and wishes of elderly citizens and their families, including a variety of new memory units of various amenities and programs.
The Medicaid program can provide very basic skilled nursing care for individuals with limited resources, and elder care planning can help families retain resources while qualifying for Medicaid. For wealthier individuals, some posh new programs are developing.
For example, The Orlando Health Center for Rehabilitation in Florida is offering luxurious amenities as part of a long-term care program, including design color schemes, hotel carts in the lobby, an on-site therapy gym, and rooms aligned at a slight angle so that patients can see through windows without turning their neck. A special wing for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients includes an enclosed first floor garden which is shaped in a figure 8 to accommodate extended walking periods by ambulatory dementia patients. Another example is the Selfhelp Home in Illinois which offers amenities such as kosher meals, in-room dining, Wi-Fi, accommodations for overnight guests, a rooftop deck, beauty salon, and movie theater.
Elder law attorneys and long-term care specialists expect that as the population continues to age and expand, an evolving marketplace will continue to develop new options, giving families some more choices, but also sometimes-dizzying alternatives to wade through in attempting to identify the most appropriate program for family members with medical and cognitive issues surrounding the aging process.