As the nation grows older, it's time to find a better way to care for those who need help as they age. The financial, emotional, and physical costs of providing long-term care often overwhelm families. Unpaid family members supply most of it, struggling to balance these duties with work and other responsibilities. A year's stay in a nursing home averaged $78,000 in 2007, and public assistance is not generally available until residents have exhausted almost all of their financial resources. Policymakers should encourage Americans to prepare for their own long-term care needs or create a larger role for government financing
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