Opening Doors for North Carolina Seniors Living with Alzheimer’s
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of doors were opened this week for North Carolina seniors living with Alzheimer’s. Those open doors lead to therapeutic, supportive and secure homes where people with Alzheimer’s will thrive, thanks to approval of a state Medicaid plan that provides for specialized care in licensed facilities.
Carillon is pleased and proud to have helped advocate for the new plan, which will enable us to welcome more seniors to our Garden Place Alzheimer’s care communities in the weeks and months ahead.
At the end of 2012, North Carolina’s Medicaid program dramatically cut what it reimbursed providers for seniors with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Changes to the state Medicaid plan essentially cut eligibility and care services for all seniors residing in adult care homes. We breathed a sigh of relief when the State submitted a new plan on behalf of assisted living residents, only to learn that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rejected the plan as it pertained to Alzheimer’s residents.
Eighteen months of discussion and debate between state and federal policymakers and stakeholders have led to a major victory for people and families affected by Alzheimer’s. The plan approved by CMS and enacted this week by the NC Department of Health and Human Services is groundbreaking in that, for the first time, we are acknowledging the need for and true value of specialized care for people living with Alzheimer’s.
It is long overdue. Research proved decades ago that institutional care for people with early and mid-stage Alzheimer’s is not only unnecessary, it often promotes a more rapid decline and loss of cognitive function. Yet, without secure funding through Medicaid, seniors and families with limited means had no option but to place their loved one in a setting that was less than ideal, in unlicensed and often unsafe facilities.
Here at Carillon, we know this to be true – that people don’t have to suffer with Alzheimer’s. They can live a rich life, an engaging life, on their own terms. They can live without fear, be accepted as they are today, and appreciated for what they were in the past. If given an opportunity to succeed, they will. They have good days left to live, things still to do, memories to make.
This is the beginning of a new chapter for North Carolina seniors living with Alzheimer’s. Carillon is proud to have played a part in bringing about a much needed change on behalf of North Carolina seniors and families. For Carillon, that change brings with it the chance to serve, the promise of new faces to greet and more lives to touch.
–Karen E. Moriarty, President and CEO, Carillon Assisted Living
on June 4, 2014