New push to keep seniors in home, community-based programs

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CHICAGO (AP) — The federal government is pushing states to keep more low-income seniors out of institutions and, instead, enroll them in home-and community-based programs.
The shift comes as demand for long-term care is rising. By 2050, the number of seniors older than 85 is expected to triple to more than 18 million. These seniors tend to have the highest disability rate and greatest need for long-term care.
The tug-of-war between rising demand and controlling costs has advocates for seniors worrying about quality of care.
Andrea Maresca, director of federal policy and strategy at the National Association of Medicaid Directors, says people sometimes are afraid of change. She says programs can be improved but states are trying to make sure seniors don't lose access to services.