Heads up, here comes the tsunami | TheUnion.com

Heads up, here comes the tsunami

A great tsunami is coming to Nevada County, and we are not prepared for it.

Nevada County has 100,000 citizens. Of those, 20 percent are 65 years of age and older. That is 20,000 people. We have only two nursing homes that are good, and they have a total of 234 beds. So assuming only 5 percent of our population over 65 needs to go to a nursing home, that will be 1,000 people. Now you do the simple math and see how many older, ailing people will have no place to go — nada! The number this year is 766 people. And it will be more each succeeding year.

Medicaid only pays for a 20-day stay in a nursing home. You could be billed for $500 or $1,000 for that stay.

A good way to judge these homes is by the number of complaints against them, moreso the number of complaints followed up by the state with inspections. The state keeps records of these for five years. In the past five years, the two good homes have had between six and 14 inspections. The two poor-quality homes in Nevada County have had 47 to 67 inspections.

There are two more "caregiver" steps below nursing homes. They offer no RNs or even LVNs. And neither is paid for by Medicare. They are "in-home care" and individual homes that take in people, feed them and do their laundry. Both do nothing more. And very few can be recommended, especially the two "in-home care" in Nevada County.

You may be one of those in need in coming years. If Nevada County can pony up 50 percent of the cost to build a new library and a new fancy jail and we can manage to raise the other 50 percent, we should be doing that right now to build several good nursing homes. Not tomorrow, today!

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