Federal and state governments, insurers, hospital administrators, and financial analysts all have weighed in on the ramifications of increased life expectancy, advances in geriatric medicine, and escalating health-care costs.
The economic impact these developments already have had and are likely to have on all of our lives has been the topic of increasingly urgent debate. While some envisioned a "perfect storm" on the horizon, others saw opportunity. The financial acumen of the baby boomers coupled with what has often been touted as the largest generational transfer of wealth in American history, has proven advantageous for some but not all. Consequently, long-term care for the aged has emerged from the shadows, in which lurked the frequently maligned nursing home, to the nascence of the golden age of assisted living. The present, and certainly the next, generation of long-term care residents are desirous of and willing to pay for more upscale surroundings in their later years. At the same time, although perhaps willing to forever leave behind the family home for a more confined living situation, the new wave of residents are not so quick to relinquish many of the freedoms of everyday life. This dynamic of a more active, elderly, residential population in long-term care facilities is not without its risks. "Negotiated risk," one way that long-term care facilities are evaluating and managing those risks, is the topic of this article. view more