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More Choice for America's Seniors
Date:7/15/2008

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The nation's leading organization for assisted living providers today hailed the growing trend towards Home and Community Based Care as a positive step towards improving choice in long term care for America's seniors.

Richard Grimes, President and CEO of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA), said the findings of the AARP Public Policy Report, A Balancing Act: State Long-Term Care Reform, show that the desire of most seniors to remain close to home as they age is propelling a strong trend away from institutional care.

Although the report showed that a disproportionate share of Medicaid funds, some 75 percent, still pays for nursing home care, the report demonstrated that a strong consumer preference for options is driving states to shift dollars towards other forms of long term care, including assisted living and other community-based settings. The report, like others, shows nursing home census is declining as the census in assisted living communities rises. Assisted living costs about half as much as nursing home care and 43 states and the District of Columbia have sought waivers from the federal government to use Medicaid funds for assisted living services for Medicaid-eligible seniors in their states.

"The rapid growth of the assisted living industry in the United States reflects the industry's intense focus on meeting the needs and wishes of consumers,'' said Grimes. "We are pleased that AARP's report embraces a philosophy of care that includes maintaining the independence and dignity of seniors and allowing them to choose to age at home or other community-based settings. ''

Grimes said that while skilled nursing homes provide a vital service and will always be an essential component of long term care, advances in medical treatment and longer life spans make it increasingly clear that Americans need more, not fewer, options as they age. The AARP report showed that state governments as the incubators for innovation are stepping up to provide more options for long term care.

The Assisted Living Federation of American is the largest national association serving companies operating professionally managed assisted living communities for seniors. ALFA is the voice for senior living and advocates for informed choice, quality care and accessibility for all Americans needing assistance with long term care. For more information, visit http://www.alfa.org.


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SOURCE Assisted Living Federation of America
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