The number of people in the United States age 65 and older is expected to more than double between 2012 and 2060, from 43.1 million to 92 million, according to projections by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Couple this forecast with the fact that the baby boomer generation saves less for retirement than any generation preceding it, and what looms is the prospect of more senior citizens with less financial means to provide for their own care.
The Jewish Association on Aging, in an attempt to stave off this impending crisis, has taken action by establishing a new Benevolent Care Fund.
“We have a lot of seniors within our organization that are on medical assistance, and we subsidize the care they receive,” said Deborah Winn-Horvitz, president and CEO of the JAA. “We subsidize not only their care, but their residences as well.”
Because insurance does not cover the expenses of living in personal care facilities, such as the JAA’s Weinberg Terrace and Weinberg Village, the JAA often subsidizes the cost of both the dwelling and the care that seniors living there receive, said Winn-Horvitz.
“No one has ever gotten kicked out,” she said. “We hope that will always be the case.”
She added, “This is becoming a significant challenge for a nonprofit organization. The amount we are asked to subsidize each year is increasing.”
Today, the JAA underwrites more than $2.7 million annually in uncompensated care, providing security for the elderly. But the JAA cannot maintain these subsidies without help, according to Winn-Horvitz.
“It’s just not sustainable without the support of the community,” she said. “This generation was not as good savers as prior generations. The baby boomers didn’t prepare as much for their medical expenses and their residential expenses.”
The JAA subsidizes 60 percent of the residents at the Charles Morris Nursing and Rehabilitation Center — those who are on medical assistance. Subsidies for these patients amount to $200 per day per patient, said Winn-Horvitz.
But it is becoming more difficult to subsidize all these services.
“This is why we need the community’s help in contributing to this fund,” she said. “It’s not just an individual issue; it’s a community issue.
“Many organizations are finding themselves in the position of needing community support to remain financially viable. Surely, in long-term care, we are seeing this more and more.”
The new Benevolent Care fund has received an initial gift of $25,000 from Buncher Foundation, which has committed to $25,000 a year for two years. Winn-Horvitz would like to see the fund reach a half-million dollars.
“But any assistance we get is helpful,” she said.
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)