“Home” is at the top of the list of where most people want to be and it is also where the authors of the newly-enacted health care reform law want people to be. Long-term care for the elderly and adults with disabilities is a major factor in today’s sky-rocketing health care costs and it will only get worse as the U.S. population of older adults is expected to almost double in the next twenty years (U.S. Census Bureau 2000). The current health care system has primarily provided care for the elderly and disabled through hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions; by contrast, a major focus of the new law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is on providing states with incentives to focus on innovative and less costly models for providing elders with more home- and community-based options for their care. That’s also where a growing percentage of older adults prefer to receive long-term care services — in home and community-based settings — placing additional pressure on effective delivery systems at the community level.
Cooperatives can provide real solutions for senior citizens in rural communities.