A national expert on elder care issues says Iowa officials need to change regulations in order to change the living options for elderly Iowans. Susan Reinhard, co-director of the Rutgers University Center for State Health Policy, was a featured speaker today at a forum sponsored by the Iowa chapter of A-A-R-P.”The bottom line (is) Iowa needs more choices that people can go to for long-term care and support than nursing homes. I think you have a long way to go and a lot of need for that,” Reinhard says. She’s not just suggesting the construction of more assisted living centers, but a move toward having more Iowans open their homes to one or two elderly people who need a little help. Reinhard says it’s cheaper care — and better for the elderly, too. Reinhard says many times a recently-retired nurse, teacher or social worker wants to open their home to care for a parent, a neighbor or an elderly friend in their neighborhood. The challenge, according to Reinhard, is having state officials who can make those sorts of matches so elderly folks who need a little extra care don’t immediately get sent to a nursing home. “We really do see a lot of people going into nursing homes much sooner and at much lower levels of need than really would have to be the case if there were other options,” Reinhard says. The cost of a nursing home runs an average of 120-dollars-per-day, while the cost of in-home care is about 30-dollars-a-day.
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