The AARP says Illinois has improved opportunities for elderly people to remain in the community. But it says there are still too many living in nursing homes who need not be.
David Vinkler is an associate director for AARP. He says there are good reasons for helping seniors to stay independent, or at home, getting help, and out of long-term care facilities.
"Chief among them is, that people don't want to go into nursing homes. You won't meet very many seniors that will say 'You know, I really want to go into a nursing home.' "
Vinkler says, "But it's also a much better option for the state because we're paying a much, much, much lower rate."
Vinkler says it costs about $1000 a month for someone to receive Medicaid at-home care, compared with around $3000 on average for a nursing home stay.
According to a just-published report from the AARP, Illinois is second-worst among states for having a high percentage of people in nursing homes with low-needs...in other words, people who probably could instead be getting at-home care.