Can the Assisted Living Waiver Meet the Growing Demand for Affordable Senior Care?
Meeting the housing and care needs of an aging Californian is a priority goal for the State’s Aging Master Plan. According to the most current statistics, by 2029, there will be 14.4 million middle-income older adults in the United States, and 54% of them will lack the financial resources to pay for senior living at today’s average market rates.
California urban centers are significantly challenged because of the high cost of housing and the high workforce costs. Programs such as the state’s Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) are trying to augment the costs of care in licensed residential settings. ALW programs will pay for care services for income eligible clients who are in need of services for help with activities of daily living (ADL’s). Unfortunately, the program is only in selected counties, and there are not enough beds to meet demand. Currently. there are over 5,000 beneficiaries on the ALW waitlist, with additional hundreds in process in any given month. The average wait is 13 months for community rollovers and 60 – 90 day waits from skilled nursing facilities. Residents who need assisted living services can not wait so long. It leaves them in a vulnerable place.
Advocates for the expansion of the ALW program were disappointed when AB 50, the legislative effort to expand ALW to 18,500 people, failed to get enough support. Now they are exploring if the program could be integrated into the Home and Community-Based Alternative Waiver or the CalAim programs. Both of these programs have expanded services throughout California and may be able to reduce duplication of administrative services.
Mark Cimino, CEO of CiminoCare and longtime advocate for expanding the ALW is hopeful, “There is a lot to be done, and government and private organizations must work together to meet the growing needs. Our older residents deserve it.” CiminoCare has developed a middle-market program that works well. CiminoCare is able to provide residents participating in the ALW program with quality care and services. Mark continues, “we focus on what matters, compassionate quality care. We can’t always add the fancy frills, but our residents are grateful to live with us.”
For more information about the ALW program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part two of this series will highlight the growing collaboration between assisted living and memory care communities and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) programs.