Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Baby Boomers getting older

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Buffalo: Baby Boomers getting older
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YNN's Geoff Redick speaks with officials about Baby Boomers getting older, and what that will mean for the future of our healthcare system.

It's no secret that we're getting older.

"We're anticipating between the year 2000 and 2030, a 73 percent increase in our over-60 population. That's huge, it's huge," said Ruth Spink, Genesee County Office for the Aging.

Between 2000 and 2010, New York's over-60 population grew 2.2 percent. With the majority of the Baby Boomers now reaching their 60th birthday, the numbers are about to explode. That is not easy on budgets.

"The past few years we've lost 25 percent of our staff, and yet, the increase that we've had already in the influx of people coming through our doors, is eleven percent," said Spink.

That holds true too in healthcare, where government nursing homes and hospice are feeling the crunch.

"County nursing home is just under a $19 million program of expenses, and what the county has found in the last 10 to 15 years, is that we continue to see a rising deficit. About a $2.7 million operating deficit within that nursing home budget," said Jay Gsell, Genesee County Manager.

That is due to rising costs in the healthcare. Just 15 years ago, Genesee County's nursing home sustained itself. But, as healthcare costs have gone up, state funding has not matched them. Now, nursing care is $260 per patient, per day. The state provides only $171 per day.

"The quote-unquote 'privatization' of a county nursing home, is something that's done all over the country," said Gsell.

The idea meets backlash wherever it goes though. In 2010, Genesee COunty paid for a viability study on its nursing home. Public opposition was loud enough to delay any changes. But, more and more private and non-profit elder care options are popping up.

"I think there's 660 nursing homes in the state of New York. Right now, only about 33 of them are publicly owned, and that number will decrease within the next year," said Gsell.

While many more of us will soon need elder care, it may not be the government providing it.

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