American society faces a looming crisis of unprecedented size and consequence. 77 million aging baby-boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), who comprise slightly more than 26% of the U.S. population, are nearing retirement. When the boomers begin retiring in 2011, they will represent the largest generation of retirees in American history.
An unfortunate fact of aging is that the older people get, the more they consume in the way of healthcare resources. They suffer from functional declines due to an assortment of age-related illnesses, and they’re more prone to injury-producing accidents. At a time when their medical needs are becoming more frequent, their recovery times are taking longer. The net effect is to place more stress on the healthcare system.
Hospitals, healthcare professionals, private insurance programs, federal programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, state assistance programs, extended-care facilities and other components of the healthcare infrastructure are already overburdened by increasing demand. As a result, healthcare costs are rising, and the problem will only get worse in the future.
A shortage of healthcare resources not only contributes to higher healthcare costs, but to a decline in the quality of healthcare services, too. Perhaps most devastated by the sharp rise in costs are those who privately fund their health care – for many of them, rising costs are nothing short of catastrophic.
The elder care crisis, as it’s often called, is not just a medical problem. It’s not just a corporate problem, or an employer problem. It’s not just a government problem, or a Social Security problem. It is, in every respect, society’s problem, because every member of society will, in some way, be affected by it.
Out of every crisis arises a need; every need creates an opportunity. Now that the elder care crisis is upon us and the long-term care system is struggling to meet demands, our aging population urgently needs many new adult foster care facilities to help ease the burden and avert disaster.
Medicare and Medicare supplemental policies subsidize acute medical care, but they do not support long-term care. Long-term care options include nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, residential care facilities and adult foster homes. Costs for these vary, but can exceed $5000 per month.
Except in cases where care is provided by family members, adult foster homes are, by far, the least expensive long-term care option available to the elderly. They provide a home-like environment, interesting activities, diet and medication management, and other amenities and benefits. Because adult foster care costs significantly less than other options, it minimizes the financial impact for many.
Sometimes, state assistance programs help with the financial burden. In these cases, residents pay a portion of their social security benefits to the care facility, and the state picks up the tab for the balance.
The long-term health care crisis will worsen until the demand for care facilities is met. For this reason, the crisis can be viewed as an opportunity for enterprising, motivated people who have the desire, ability and resources to provide adult foster care services.
Long-term care requirements create a need for long-term care facilities, which, in turn, results in long-term opportunities for adult foster care providers and substitute caregivers. At a time when many families are finding additional sources of income essential to survival, those who provide adult foster care have discovered that it makes an attractive alternative to more traditional income-producing methods.
Starting an adult foster home is not difficult; however, your home must be approved for adult foster care by the state licensing authority, and caregivers must meet minimum requirements. State licensing authorities provide various training programs and monthly training seminars to support foster home care providers. Oregon’s adult foster home “boot camp” training is called EQC (Ensuring Quality Care).
To qualify for a license, prospective adult foster home care providers must successfully complete the EQC training program and pass a test. Although a CNA, LPN, RN or PT certification would be an asset, you can establish an adult foster home without a medical degree or a license to practice medicine.
Apart from emotional and spiritual gratification and hefty financial rewards, there are definite tax advantages, not to mention the satisfaction of self-employment. Adult foster care is one home-based business that really works.
Tom LeBlanc has been an entrepreneur for many years and has started numerous businesses. He is a physical therapist and an adult foster home care provider. He is currently the lead physical therapist at a local hospital's Medical Surgical and Swing Bed Departments.
He and his wife, Donna, have successfully operated the Transition Home -- an adult foster home that specialized in short-term stays with a focus on rehab.