Nevada Elder Law Attorney Lee Drizin recently reviewed a study on Independent Living Grants for Nevada Seniors. Independent Living Grants (“ILG”) support seniors and also save money for the Nevada General Fund. ILGs financially assist seniors with certain services which enables them to continue to live at home. Otherwise, many of these seniors would be required to move to institutionalized care. Not only would this result in the senior’s loss of independence, but the cost of this care is significantly greater than the cost of the ILG’s provided.
A recent study has shown that seniors are the fastest growing population in Nevada, increasing 48.2 percent between 2000 and 2010, nearly four times the national average. In order to keep up with the demands of such a rapidly growing population, the system of care must be strengthened. Based on a survey from Aging & Disability Service Division, the Division identified the three most needed services as case management, home care, and transportation. An increase in funding will allow more ILGs to be issued, creating a better balance between the supply and demand of so many as well as saving money doing so.
During 2013, Independent Living Grants served a total of 10,985 individual clients at an average annual expenditure of $399 per client, 46 times less expensive than the Nevada General Fund expenditure of $18,564 to institutionalize a Medicaid client. Additionally, 886 ILG clients met the functional criteria for Medicaid coverage, which means they were likely eligible for Medicaid in a nursing home facility. Therefore, ILGs likely achieve at least $16 million in annual Nevada General Fund savings.
A subcommittee of the Nevada Commission on Aging recently recommended the Commission pursue increased ILG funding as soon as resources are available. Independent Living Grant services are a vital safety net that stands between elders and their loss of independence, as well as saving millions of dollars for the community.