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Report: NH Ranks Lowest for Seniors "Aging in Place"

According to a MetLife market survey, nursing homes are about three times as expensive for families as home-based care. (sarcifilippo/Pixabay)
According to a MetLife market survey, nursing homes are about three times as expensive for families as home-based care. (sarcifilippo/Pixabay)
February 13, 2019

CONCORD, N.H. - Most older Americans want to "age in place," staying in their own homes, rather than moving to an assisted-living facility or nursing home. However, according to an AARP report, New Hampshire is doing very little to help them.

The report ranks the state 50th in helping older people age in place. Specifically, New Hampshire spends a lower percentage of Medicaid dollars on home-based care than other states.

Doug McNutt, advocacy director for AARP New Hampshire, said he thinks part of the problem is that home-care services don't have the same clout here as do nursing facilities.

"The home-care industry traditionally hasn't been as strong politically as the nursing homes and the counties have," he said, "because counties also run their own nursing homes, so that plays into the voice of the nursing home industry as well."

However, according to a MetLife market survey, nursing homes are about three times as expensive for families as home-based care. McNutt said Gov. Chris Sununu understands this, and put a little bit of money in last year's budget to try to increase the rates paid to home-care providers. Sununu is to deliver his budget address on Thursday.

McNutt said the Department of Health and Human Services also wants to increase state spending on home-based care.

"The Department of Health and Human Services budget is requesting significantly more resources for home care," he said. "I don't know if that's going to be in the governor's budget or not, but if it is in the governor's budget, then we'll be supporting that kind of an increase."

The AARP report also noted that the U.S. population age 65 and older is expected to double by 2050, and the population age 85 and older is expected to triple in that same time period - trends that will have a profound effect on state budgets and on families' ability to provide and pay for care.

The report is online at aarp.org.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - NH