'Forced into Nursing Homes' Florida Falls Short in Providing Cheaper, At-Home Services for Its Aging Population

By Mattson, Marcia; Lewis, Ken | The Florida Times Union, August 3, 2000 | Go to article overview

'Forced into Nursing Homes' Florida Falls Short in Providing Cheaper, At-Home Services for Its Aging Population


Mattson, Marcia, Lewis, Ken, The Florida Times Union


Forida, the state with the highest proportion of senior citizens, projects an image of itself as the aging American's dream.

But nearly every other state does better at helping seniors age in their own homes. Florida was ranked 48th -- better only than Utah and Tennessee -- in a national study last year on average spending per senior on programs that help with tasks like shopping, cooking, housecleaning and bathing.

Advocates for seniors said they have advised lawmakers for years to spend more on home-based programs, which usually are cheaper than nursing homes and preferred by the elderly.

Instead, the Legislature has devoted 77 percent to 89 percent of its long-term care funding to nursing homes for the past 20 years, according to the Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging, a multi-university consortium at the University of South Florida.

"While Florida is the bellwether state regarding aging demographics, we could hardly be further from a leadership position in terms of home- and community-based programming," center Director Larry Polivka wrote in a January report.

With other options lacking, seniors are either forced to be institutionalized or go without any help, Polivka said. Many seniors moved here from other states, and thus have no family to help them.

"What we're doing now is forcing people into nursing homes," said state Rep. Nancy Argenziano, R-Crystal River, who chairs the House Committee on Elder Affairs and Long-Term Care. "How many people in nursing homes really need to be there?"

She said doctors are sending people to nursing homes following hospitalizations because they can't get the non-medical support services they need at home.

Home-based programs can help people who are as impaired as those in nursing homes, according to the policy center. Half of Florida's nursing home residents and 40 percent of elderly living at home need help with all five activities of daily living -- eating, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, and moving from bed to chair, the center said.

Changes could be coming. A state task force has begun meeting to write proposed legislation that could chart the future of long-term care in Florida. Argenziano is a member, and Polivka's agency is providing assistance.

And Gov. Jeb Bush has made it one of his priorities to offer seniors more options, said Annette Kjeer, executive director of the Northeast Florida Area Agency on Aging.

Last year, the Legislature increased funding for one of the state's largest home care programs by nearly one-third, using some of the state's tobacco settlement. It was the program's first funding increase in 10 years.

Also last year, the Legislature for the first time diverted a $7 million funding increase earmarked for nursing homes into home care programs.

The extra money has helped reduce waiting lists for home and community services from 13,000 people statewide in 1998 to about 9,000 today, according to the state Department of Elderly Affairs.

Some seniors have already been waiting as long as six months for help.

WAITING FOR HELP

Charles Watson creeps over from the couch in his modest Southside Jacksonville apartment to his motorized scooter. He has a back problem, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.

"I'm about to where I can't hardly do anything for myself," said Watson, 65. "I can't take a bath; I can't hardly put my shoes on. . . . I can't walk about five minutes and I have to sit down."

But he doesn't consider himself ready for a nursing home.

"I ain't that bad," he said. "I can do most things I want to do, except put my clothes on and take a bath."

He figures he's actually needed someone to help him with bathing and transportation for the past five years. A year ago, he moved to Jacksonville from Georgia and called around to service agencies but didn't sign up for help when they told him about their long waiting lists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Forced into Nursing Homes' Florida Falls Short in Providing Cheaper, At-Home Services for Its Aging Population
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.