Young Disabled Adults in Nursing Homes
Not just for the elderly
The need for assisted living for young disable adults is a growing concern. People younger than 65 are living in geriatric facilities. Did you know this is a growing phenomena? A retirement home is traditionally a facility to care for those who are coming to the end of their life. These facilities are places for the elderly who can no longer care for themselves. Families do not have the time and skills to attend to the geriatric family member who may have medical issues requiring full time assistance.
Simply put, mom or dad may end up in one after a certain age or disability. It's not an easy decision for sure and as long as family visits on a regular basis, it should be a positive last resort. It is a topic few want to discuss and many family members will put off until it's absolutely necessary.
It's widely believed that nursing homes are only for those over 65 years of age but there has been a growing trend in the past decade. The fact is many younger patients are ending up in one.
Younger patients in nursing facilities
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the under 65 year old patients in nursing homes has increased to 22 percent in the last eight years.
Patients under 65 with End-Stage Renal Disease, those with serious mental disabilities and illnesses are moving in because they have no other place to go.
In the photo on the right, Blane Beckwith, being assisted while eating , he suffers from spinal muscular atrophy and requires a constant help each day. "Meanwhile, 314,000 of the 1.4 million disabled and elderly residents in nursing homes would rather be living in the community, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services." Courtesy of http://thehandiestone.typepad.com/blog/2010/08/recession-battered-states-cut-funding-for-the-disabled.html
Young people are ending up in an assisted facility or nursing homes due to cost factors.
States have slashed their budgets for adults with severe disabilities, who receive home health care, may end up in nursing homes. This is a violation of the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act. Medicare will pay for them to live in nursing facilities so they may have no choice.
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The insurance companies have not paid for long term hospital care and expensive physical or occupational therapy in the past, but may have to with new legislation. Those who still have private insurers would prefer to pay nursing homes to care for them. Money is a big issue and medical costs are rising astronomically.
State social workers and patient advocates say this is the best alternative for now but want it to be short term.
Patients who had disabling accidents and simply ran out of funds may have to go on public assistance or Medicaid. Medicaid will pay for the full time assistance but the nursing homes are the only facility that will be paid if they need so much help.
Mentally ill and physically challenged
It's not only younger people with physical disabilities but even younger psychiatric patients are ending up in nursing homes as well.
Mental disability facilities are being shut down due to cost factors so they must go somewhere. It is a last resort since the economy tanked. Many mentally challenged patients as well have ended up on the streets due to budget problems. They are often victimized by other homeless, so unless a patient advocate intervenes and places them in a geriatric facility, there will be serious consequences.
Serious conditions that require more therapy and not getting it will cause major headaches for staff in these homes.
Schizophrenic, bipolar and mentally ill patients, as young as 18 may be placed in a geriatric facility, which surprised me. When money is an issue, the only places that are paid by the government will have to take them in. Private insurers, have denied them for so long and now Medicaid picks up the tab.
That means we all pay for them.This means that the elderly are coming in contact with mentally and emotionally disabled adults who can potentially harm them. And worse of all,the elderly bedridden have to deal with them as well.
When mixing young and old, clashes are bound to happen. Depression and feelings of isolation are not unusual for the younger residents.
Seeing death and disability all around will hinder a recovering younger patient. If they think that this is going to be a permanent situation, then they may feel despair.
Getting to be around other people their age is a challenge. Staying positive and focused is a tough job for an advocate or social worker. There are state and private agencies working on getting younger people out of nursing homes.
What families can Do
I think that now that the problem of younger patients being admitted to nursing homes is being acknowledged, there needs to be some legislation to make facilities just for them.
Making a wing or section in the nursing home isn't a good solution. Dangerous patients such as mentally ill, should get the proper treatment or will end up in a prison. The public will pay one way or another.
The number of prisons has risen dramatically in the past two decades, and that is another issue.
Summary of young,disabled adults in Nursing homes
I did not delve very deeply into the details of who qualifies or not; that is up to the individual situations and state regulations. Each state has advocates for homeless with disabilities. Homelessness is the first challenge and getting the medical treatment is another challenge. I am noticing that more nursing facilities are now referred to as rehabilitation and senior nursing facilities. Maybe this is in response to new insurance?
The Affordable Care Act or ACA, “Obamacare” bill has begun as of January 1,2014 and its effect on young disabled adults is unclear. They will likely sign up for the expanded Medicaid program provided their states have opted in. As always, outcomes for those in this situation due to money issues. It does provide more options for certain, but not every state has embraced the expanded Medicaid program.
This is not a new issue for sure. I think it's a shame to have some younger people with chronic and acute conditions, living at nursing facilities. It's not healthy for either the geriatric patient trying to live their last days in dignity and peace of mind, nor the younger person, who has to deal with serious issues and depression.
Young People in Nursing Homes
Do you have a young family member in a nursing home?
© 2011 Stacie L