To help vulnerable seniors during heat waves, Meals on Wheels is adding fans to the menu

July 18, 2017 (Salt Lake Tribune)

The elderly population in Utah is growing rapidly. In 2015, people 65 and older made up a little more than 10 percent of the state’s population. In 50 years, that group is expected to grow to 20 percent, according to a projection by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. It’s important for people to be able to age at home in order to stay healthy, according to Shawn Teigen, research director at the Utah Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization. “You’re in a place that you know well and you’re not around other illnesses as much as if you’re in a facility with other folks.”

It’s also a lot cheaper to age at home. Most assisted living facilities cost about $30,000 a year, Teigen said. Medicaid will cover that cost, with about a third of the money coming from the state. Programs to help seniors age at home provide services like ramp installations, transportation or doing household chores. Costs are usually less than $9,000 a year, per person.

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