When we think of the U.S., we think of the American dream. Many achieve this dream once they reach their forties and fifties. However, an outstanding amount also doesn’t achieve it. Furthermore, those that don’t complete the American dream are riddled with financial and medical problems as they grow older. At some point, they have to make tough decisions to survive.
Getting the care our elders need is essential to a country’s survival. Moreover, it’s crucial for every family and even the economy. They’ve given so much for our country, and they can provide so much more if they don’t need to worry about their health and finances all the time. But the U.S. still struggles to understand what these people need. Here are some of the problems plaguing the U.S. senior care system.
Lack of Universal Health Care
The U.S. lacks universal health care, which makes this even more depressing because it lacks the necessary foundation and framework to start one. As we all know, many insurance policies in the U.S. are taken care of by privatized companies. Although these companies try to give people some of the best care globally, they’re also very costly. This leaves millions of people lacking healthcare coverage.
The lack of healthcare coverage and the expensive cost of health care in the U.S. lead people to debt. It’s estimated that medical bills cause 66% of bankruptcies among families. Many of them come from seniors with health problems. What makes this worse is that most elderly are forced to pay for their bills using their life savings and retirement plans.
Universal health care isn’t the only way to solve the growing senior care problem. Many financial experts believe is that it’s not even near enough to solve America’s medical debt problem. However, it is a step in the right direction.
We all know that nursing homes are costly. American families spend an average of $92,000 of their annual salary to keep their senior in a nursing home. If you compare that to the median household income of Americans (around $67,000), there’s at least $25,000 that has to be put on debt to keep their elderly inside a nursing home.
Thankfully, there are ways to bypass this cost. One obvious way is to hire the cheaper and arguably better senior aides to take care of them in the comfort of your home. More than 70% of seniors would like to stay in their homes, which plays a significant role in their morale. Another alternative is to take care of them. If your senior isn’t bed-ridden or has any disability, this is the cheapest and safest option.
However, we shouldn’t forget about the enormous expenses of a nursing home because seniors might have to stay there for at least a year by the end of the day. This is relatively common for those who only recently have surgery or are being monitored. The expenses of nursing homes should be decreased so the elderly can save more of their retirement funds for themselves.
Not all senior care problems come from the system in the U.S. One significant problem also comes from an unexpected circumstance that only happened last year: the pandemic.
The pandemic has shown that everyone is vulnerable to a particular disease, which can quickly rid you of your life savings. Millions of seniors were exposed to the virus and pushed them to use all of their savings to keep themselves alive. Although this circumstance is unforeseen and not the state’s fault, it still exposed how flawed senior care is in the U.S.
For example, if an elderly gets COVID-19 and has to spend most of their savings and insurance in keeping themselves alive, the next time they reach the virus, they drastically reduce their chances of survival. Yet, there is no government-based program that helps seniors against exposure to the virus, aside from the mandated vaccines.
The pandemic has shown that we need to improve our healthcare system now more than ever. It’s not only the old that are suffering but also those who are young and healthy. Without the necessary improvements, increasing healthcare and senior care problems will continue to rise.
Our seniors play a big role in our society. They are mentors and contributors to the knowledge of the younger generation. Even some still work and play a pivotal role in the economy. They’ve served us for most of their lives, and we think that it’s only fair that we solve these problems to make their last years in this world a bit easier.