Just as Americans have struggled with how to pay for long-term care for senior citizens who require daily, skilled nursing, so has our government. For a long time, people without independent means to pay for nursing home care were forced to rely on Medicaid, the federal insurance plan for the poor. The rules for Medicaid eligibility are strict, however, so it wasn't enough that people couldn't afford expensive long-term care; they needed to be poor enough overall to qualify.
A recent AARP study highlighted the importance of proper long-term care planning. The report tells the story of how fewer family caregivers will be available to care for older relatives in the future. The current ratio of seven to one will decline to three to one by 2050.