four people sitting at a table and another one standing
Health Affairs Editor Alan Weil, left, moderates a panel discussion Wednesday about “The Forgotten Middle” study published in the journal. Others pictured, from left, are David Grabowski, Ph.D., and Caroline Pearson, two of the study’s authors, as well as John Rowe and Jennifer Molinsky.

Senior living advocates told McKnight’s Senior Living they will continue working with policymakers and others to try to ensure that middle-market adults have housing and care options as they age.

Their comments follow the much-anticipated release Wednesday of a study funded by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care that projected that at least 54% of the 14.4 million middle-income older adults in 2029 in the United States will lack the financial resources to pay for senior housing and care. The study was published Wednesday online by the journal Health Affairs and will be part of the May print issue.

| Read more about “The Forgotten Middle” study. |

“We agree that more must be done to ensure all seniors have access to the long-term care they need and deserve,” National Center for Assisted Living Executive Director Scott Tittle said. “[American Health Care Association] / NCAL supports continuing these important conversations with policymakers and other stakeholders to identify solutions that will address this important issue sooner rather than later.”

LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan called the study “timely” and told McKnight’s Senior Living that the organization was pleased to see issues related to the aging of middle-income older adults receiving attention.

“We know, from results of research conducted by our LeadingAge LTSSCenter @MassBoston, that affordable housing with services is a valuable resource for helping low-income older adults age well while slowing the growth of Medicaid spending,” she said. “For middle-income older adults, we need new approaches — perhaps independent housing models that offer wrap-around services at different price points, which will likely provide more economies of scale than assisted living.”

A rethinking of Medicare’s role also may be necessary, Sloan said, “particularly managed care options, possibly in partnership with providers of independent living or through innovations with our members. We see some early efforts in this now. It is important to generate new conversations and ideas. We look forward to engaging with NIC and policymakers to develop additional resources to address the growing need.”  

Personal finances also are part of the solution, Argentum leaders said.

“Ensuring adequate retirement security for all Americans is one of Argentum’s primary public policy priorities,” the organization said in a statement. “Argentum is exploring with members of Congress and the administration a number of ways that middle-market older Americans will have adequate savings to pay for long-term care services and supports.”

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