Generally speaking, elders do not want to live in nursing homes. As the health care system evolves, identifying and implementing strategies to help support elders in the community is critically important. How can this happen? Both by making more programs available that promote resilience, self-care and independence and by making additional investments by federal and state governments available to fund Home and Community Based Services (HCBS).
On February 8, 2021, Bob Casey (D-PA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined with 31 Senators to urge the Biden administration to invest $450 billion in Medicaid HCBS. The senators sent a letter to President Biden and VP Harris, noting that this investment would support the economy while also supporting individuals with disabilities, elders and family caregivers. The Senators also stated that this funding would advance racial and gender equality.
Another innovative program known as Healthy Lifetime, underway in Michigan, represents an effort to strengthen self-care and resilience among elders who receive virtual nurse coaching services. This program and others can help elders remain in the community.
At this point in time, we do not know whether offering HCBS or educational coaching that enhance the ability of consumers to remain in their homes and communities will save state or federal governments money (e.g., Medicaid funding). However, we do know that many – if not most – consumers prefer to remain at home.
Let’s help make it happen.