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Many senior living and care providers across the country have raised their rates this year, as inflation continues to drive expenses for staples such as food, supplies and energy.

Indeed, according to the result of a recent survey from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, inflation has replaced staffing as a top concern for providers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported its consumer-price index rose 8.3% in August from the same month a year ago.

“Along with raising monthly room and care fees, which can include housekeeping, meals and bathing assistance, some providers boosted entrance fees — one-time charges to secure a living space — by as much as 15%, the Wall Street Journal reported

One reason for the surge in rates, according to the media outlet, is that nonprofit skilled nursing providers rely heavily on Medicaid to cover the costs of residents who meet low-income requirements. Since reimbursements haven’t kept pace with cost inflation, providers are passing the cost along to residents who can pay.

According to researchers at independent research institution NORC at the University of Chicago, although the middle-income senior population is expected to increase by 89% by 2033, fewer of them will be able to afford senior housing. By that time, the researchers noted, more than 11 million (72%) middle-income seniors aged 75 and older may not be able to pay for assisted living and also are unlikely to qualify for Medicaid to pay for their long-term care needs. 

“Middle-income people have meaningful income resources that they could be devoting to their housing and care needs, but not at the level that would be required if they need significant caregiving,” Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at NORC and the lead author, previously told McKnight’s.

“We could see people in our model who look like they are going to be high income, but when the financial performance changes, they may drop to that middle-income group,” she said.