Pa. to give more older people the option to live at home

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 7, 2016 1:31 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania can transition more people from nursing homes to living in the community after winning a $91 million federal grant.

It's a part of the state's push to better meet people's needs, and save money in the process.

Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas says 95 percent of Pennsylvanians who need services as they age would rather get the help at home.

But many of them are living in nursing homes, which cost the state an average of $65,000 a year per person.

In-home services average half the cost.

The commonwealth has transitioned more than 2,300 people from nursing homes to community living, and the new federal grant will allow even more people to switch.

"Do we have the capacity for every single person who wants to live in the community to go there yet? No, but we're building it," says Dallas.

"And I think when we're looking at this money we're looking for the folks we could transition with our capacity as we're building up our capacity for folks down the road."

The federal grant includes money for new initiatives to keep people in the community.

"Part of the reason that this grant is helpful is it provides the training, the technical expertise and the resources for people to expand that capacity so that the folks who want to leave a nursing home, can get to a nursing home," Dallas adds.

Dallas says the department hopes to move 1,100 people out of nursing homes and into home care by the end of 2018.

He notes the state will listen to people's wishes, and also consider available services in the region before making the move.

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