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Average Assisted Living Resident Manages More Than 14 Chronic Conditions

A new study is shedding light on the number of chronic conditions the average senior living resident manages, and how much it costs them annually.

The average older adult residing in either a senior living community or nursing home manages about a dozen or more chronic conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, according to a new analysis from NORC at the University of Chicago.

For assisted living residents specifically, the average is more than 14 chronic conditions.

For the study — released Wednesday and funded by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) — researchers analyzed more than 250,000 senior housing residents and over 325,000 nursing home residents enrolled in Medicare fee-for-service.

On average, residents of both senior living and nursing home communities have an annual health care spend of about $20,000 to $30,000, with residents spending $3,000 to $4,000 out-of-pocket. And that does not include premium costs of about $2,500 on average.

The takeaway from the report for senior living operators is that there is a big opportunity for operators to offer more health care services in their communities, according to Caroline Pearson, vice president of NORC at University of Chicago.

“These are folks who are consuming a fair amount of health care, and there is a real opportunity to be thinking about their health as part of that housing equation,” Pearson said during a press briefing at the 2022 NIC Fall Conference.

Chronic conditions, health care spending

Not every senior living product type was equal when it came to average resident chronic conditions. Residents were living with more than 14 chronic conditions on average, according to the study. Memory care residents weren’t far behind, and managed a little fewer than 14 chronic conditions.

“Assisted Living residents today have about one to three visits to the emergency room annually, resulting in an inpatient stay,” Pearson said. “As a Medicare Advantage plan or as a health care provider, there is some real opportunity to try to bring those numbers down over time.”

Residents in communities with mostly independent living units were living with more than 13 chronic conditions, while CCRC or life plan community residents lived with an average of more than 12 chronic conditions.

Behavioral health services are a common need for older adults living in senior living communities. For example, in both assisted living and memory care, almost three-fourths of residents have behavioral health needs.

About 64% of residents in majority independent living communities had behavioral health needs, while a little more than half of CCRC residents have the same needs.

“That is a real call to action for the industry to continue to think very thoughtfully about how we continue to support residents and really encourage good mental health,” Pearson said. “

All of this results in higher health care spending for senior housing residents. For assisted living residents, chronic conditions helped drive an annual spend of $31,010, with $3,823 of that out-of-pocket for the older adult and the rest coming from Medicare.

Residents in majority memory care communities spent an average of $27,117, with $3,278 of that out-of-pocket; while residents in majority IL communities spent $25,115, $3,463 of which was out-of-pocket.

By comparison, the average annual health care spend for a skilled nursing resident was $52,832, with $6,877 of that out-of-pocket.

Senior housing residents also see about $1,600 in annual Medicare spending for self-administered drugs, creating “an opportunity to focus on medication therapy management and polypharmacy,” the report noted.

The post Average Assisted Living Resident Manages More Than 14 Chronic Conditions appeared first on Senior Housing News.

Source: For the full article please visit Senior Housing News

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