I have been thinking about why we moved to Homewood and wondering about the future. The majority of the residents moved here for the quality of the personal care that we expected to need as we continue to get older and need more and more help. As we age we need more help for everything from maintaining the grounds and infrastructure to driving us to the grocery store and medical labs and doctors, for cooking and serving us meals, and all the way up to eventually assisting us with our personal care in assisted living or the nursing home. We moved here since Homewood not only had all of that but it was of excellent quality, all served with most helpful and pleasant workers who were long term employees who grew to know us personally and really cared for us. But now, some residents are wondering if it will still be here when we need it as we approach the end of life.
The pandemic, climate changes, food famines around the world, and the resulting economic pressures have placed great stress on organizations like Homewood to continue with the same level of care. Inflation hits us all. Over the years Homewood managed with warranted increases in our rates as they tried to cover the costs of our services. The problem appears to be that they kept falling further behind, why is that? The answer is very simple. Homewood has been only increasing our rates for service and support approximately inline with the Government’s increases in Social Security payments; but that hasn’t been sufficient.
We only have to look at the increased costs in everything as well as the wages that our workers can get elsewhere to see the damage that inflation is causing. Homewood has had to cut back in everything they buy, both quality and quantity, but now they are facing an intolerable loss of staff if they don’t make other changes quickly. The cumulative increases in social security payments, and the rates that Homewood has passed on to the residents, have fallen way behind covering the overall inflation.
It now appears that our Social Security payments could get a larger increase next year, but we will still be way behind the curve even if Homewood increases rates inline with the Government increases. I feel that the overall cumulative shortfall for Homewood is on the order of 25%, probably more if they want to catch-up. They need to increase staff and wages around 25% in-order to maintain and hire the quality needed. They also need to increase capital funding on the order of 25% just to maintain the buildings and infrastructure that we now have at the level that they were 10 years ago. Older facilities need more and more maintenance.
I know that there would be a loud uproar, at least from some, if Homewood were to increase the rates sufficient to continue as we expected when we moved here, but they may have no choice. The problem was never caused by them so we would really be amiss if we blame them. What choice do we resident’s have other than to suffer from poorer and less care, or pay much higher rates? The only choice that I can see is for Homewood to address and solve this problem. If they don’t, they will see vacancies rise, staff leave, and even residents who can afford it will also likely leave and thus compound the problem.
Just praying for a solution isn’t going to solve our problems, but I trust (so far) that Homewood will manage their facilities in a prudent and sound way and provide us with the personal care that we anticipated when we moved here. In the meanwhile, I’m hoping that the residents understand the magnitude of our problems and that they also make the necessary sacrifices to help and raise their voices to those who can best solve the problem.