I just learned this recently from a social worker who works in Door and Kewaunee Counties. At first blush this seems odd with the advancing age of baby boomers needing care. In Green Bay, WI, at least three new Long Term Care facilities have been built every year for the past 10 years. They seem to have little difficulty in filling them.
It seems the problem is not in filling them, but in staffing them. Yes, Door County Wisconsin is a resort area that for decades has struggled to find seasonal workers for the various tourist resorts. But these are full time, year round jobs that are just not fillable.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have received bulk mail in Green Bay, WI asking me to please come work in a LTC facility, no experience necessary, they will provide all training. Refusing new residents and closing wings is an escalation of this problem.
Most LTC workers earn minimum wage or close to that. The nurses are busy with required paperwork. What is happening to minimum wage that nobody will come work for it? This is not a political comment, but rather simply notice of what is happening demographically in America.
We didn’t have enough kids. Nobody has had a dozen in many years. We are getting older and have fewer young ones who can do the work to care for us. Minimum wage is difficult to live on and in many parts of the country minimum wage is doubling. MacDonald’s workers are striking for $15 per hour.
Couple that with the majority of adults needing care who are unable to pay for that care, running out of money to pay for it, and falling back on Medicaid, a welfare program from state and federal governments that will pay for it. Medicaid pays much less than the cost to care for people, thus care providers lose money on it’s woeful reimbursement.
Can you lose money on every customer and make it up on volume?
Of course not. Can you raise wages to attract the workers you need if you are losing money on what you receive for the care you provide? Of course not. What will it take to solve this problem? The answer is quite simple – We simply cannot depend on a government welfare program to pay for the care we need as we age. We need to be able to pay for our care ourselves.
We cannot afford a car accident without car insurance, and most of us cannot afford Long Term Care without LTC insurance. It’s as simple as that. Do you think the insurance is too expensive? Have you ever investigated it? Why not? Are you hoping this won’t happen to you? Health and Human Services (HHS) says that by the time we reach age 65, 70% of us will need some Long Term Care. Is that statistic worth betting against?
The need for caregivers is increasing. Two years ago the New York Times predicted that by 2020 more Americans will be working as caregivers than work in retail. Why? Because more and more baby boomers will be getting old enough and frail enough to require Long Term Care.
I can pay for the care I need with my LTC insurance I bought over 15 years ago – when I was younger, healthier, and it cost less. Will you wait until it’s too late? Be age 60, fully 1/4 of us are not healthy enough to purchase this coverage.
If you want to have choices about how and where you are cared for when your health changes, prepare NOW to be able to pay for that care. Those with the ability to pay for what they need will always be able to find providers. Those who cannot, will get what’s left.
Contact www.TheLongTermCareGuy.com at 884-3030 or (800) 219-9203 to investigate with a trained professional, someone who has been helping people plan for LTC for over 23 years. We work all over the state of Wisconsin.