CONCORD — New Hampshire ranks 50th when it comes to offering services that help keep people in their homes and communities as they age. AARP warns that more must be done, at an accelerated pace, to meet changing demographic demands. Of New Hampshire residents age 50 and older, 95% say they want to age at home.
'Across the States 2018: Profiles of Long-Term Services and Supports' is an AARP Public Policy Institute report ranking states on 75 indicators covering seven categories including population projections and characteristics, Medicaid long-term services and supports, public long-term care expenditures and users, and family caregiving.
“The vast majority of older Granite Staters want to live independently at home as they age, most with the help of unpaid family caregivers,” said AARP New Hampshire Associate State Director of Advocacy Doug McNutt. “Even facing tight budgets, most states have made clear progress in helping older residents achieve that goal. It’s time for New Hampshire to pick up the pace and invest more into our home- and community-based system. Especially as our population ages."
The single strongest predictor of a state’s long-term care system is the reach of its Medicaid long-term care safety net. AARP is continuing to fight to expand services provided in the home and in the community. New Hampshire ranks at the bottom for the percentage of Medicaid long-term care dollars for older people and adults with physical disabilities that support care provided at home and in the community, the care setting most residents prefer.
“We need to look at the costs of home care vs. nursing home care,” continued McNutt. “Nursing home care is about three times more expensive than home care. But we still spend 86% of taxpayer dollars on this type of care. This fact, with the desire of people to age in place, points to the need to allocate resources differently as New Hampshire ages. And the demographic trends are impressive, by 2026, the leading edge of the boomers will turn 80 and by 2050, the population 85 and older will triple.”
The report also highlights the role of family caregivers. In New Hampshire, family caregivers provide $2.3 billion per year in unpaid care, delivering 161 million hours of care. “The economic value of family caregivers far exceed the Medicaid long-term care spending,” continued McNutt. “But the supply of family caregivers is not expected to keep up with the large number of older adults needing care.”
The entire Across the States 2018 report, along with state rankings and information, is available by visiting www.aarp.org/acrossthestates.