The New York Times correctly identified a critical problem that will only grow for both seniors and the Assisted Living industry: the virtual collapse of the U.S. housing market. The drop in home values and the difficulty sellers are having finding buyers is severely hampering the ability of seniors and their families trying to raise enough money to be able to move into assisted living homes. In June, 2008 the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing almost $500 billion in home equity had vanished. Since then, as the economic situation has gotten considerably worse, it would be safe to assume that number has grown.
The New York Times article interviews a number of families who have had to delay or forego all together moving into an assisted living property. These are people for whom living on their own becomes more and more dangerous, but they can not afford to secure the appropriate living environment. They don’t need to move into a nursing home and go onto Medicaid, yet they are now at the stage that the level of attention and care they would receive in an assisted living property has become a necessity. Families and assisted living communities need to do all they can to access alternatives for funding. There are numerous options available to raise money from assets other than a home—and in today’s economically challenged environment it is critical that families take the time to learn about what is available to them.