“I spent my whole life in a small town but when my local nursing home closed, I was forced to find a different care facility. It was really hard to leave my friends and community where I was born and raised.” —Alice, Wausa, NE

Ready or not, Nebraska, we’re getting older.


And when it comes to long-term care, our seniors are speaking. We all need to listen to what they have to say.

By 2030

the number of Nebraskans aged 65-74 will be nearly double what it was in 2010.

By 2050

the number of Nebraskans needing elder care will outnumber children needing daycare.

“After my wife and I move into an assisted living facility, we exhausted our savings. We didn’t expect to live this long.” - Chuck, Milford NE

The reality of growing older in Nebraska.



On average, skilled nursing facilities lose $34 a day when caring for a resident covered by Medicaid. Further Medicaid cuts will drastically affect the lives of residents, their families, and their ability to access services.


33 Nebraska facilities have closed in the last three years because management was unable to sustain operations and an additional 33 are currently under state receivership. Adequate funding continues to be a concern.


By 2026, nearly 16,000 nursing assistants will be needed to provide care in Nebraska’s skilled nursing facilities. Sadly, the probability of filling those positions is low.


As life expectancy increases and the needs of the aging population evolve, it is vital they have continued access to various levels of care.


Nebraska census data reinforces the notion that there will be a great surge in baby boomers living in our state and a sharp decline of individuals available to provide care. From 2010-2050, Nebraskans ages 70 and older will increase by six times the projected increase of the under 70 population.


Nebraska has 80 rural counties that account for 35% of the state’s population. More than half of Nebraskans ages 85 or older reside in those communities. With limited long-term care options, some seniors will need to leave their communities to access services.

Share the Reality

Download the Seniors Speak fact sheet to share the reality Nebraska’s seniors are facing.

Economic Implications

Seniors, along with caregivers in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, are part of what makes Nebraska’s economy grow and prosper. Nursing and assisted living facilities contribute to local economies through job creation, taxes, and purchases from community businesses.



Annual Wages Directly Generated



Annual Wages Leveraged Indirectly



Infused Into Nebraska’s Economy Annually

“I worry about what Medicaid funding will look like when my parents need it. I am scared they won’t have access to the care they need or will have to leave their community to get it.”

—Ray, Grand Island, NE
“My husband Jerry served his country and always cared for me, so I wanted to do the same for him when his health declined. The staff at Jerry’s long-term care facility helped me contact the VA and get him approved for a VA contract to cover the cost of his care. Because of their help, Jerry received the hospice care he needed, and I was able to keep our home.”

—Joan, Omaha, NE
“When my mom was hospitalized recently, she was sent to a rehabilitation center for what we thought would be a short stay. After her rehab was complete, the doctor felt she would be safer in assisted living than at home. We didn’t know how she was going to pay for her care until the staff at the assisted living facility stepped in to help.”

—Linda, Omaha, NE

Medicaid has Many Faces

Forget your assumptions about those who receive Medicaid assistance. Many seniors on Medicaid had careers, raised families, sent their children to college, saved for retirement and had a hand in building this country. The reality is, many have outlived their savings. Without sufficient Medicaid funding, how will our seniors pay for their care? How will you when the time comes?


of nursing facility residents rely on Medicaid to pay for their care.


of assisted living residents rely on Medicaid to pay for their care.

These statistics represent Medicaid data only. Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage for those with a very low income and limited resources. It is often confused with Medicare, which is a federal program that provides health coverage for those 65 and older or severely disabled, regardless of income.

Learn more about the difference between Medicaid and Medicare here.

“Because of overwhelming medical costs my husband and I depleted our funds and rely solely on Medicaid to pay for health care services. We never anticipated being in this situation and because of our outstanding facility, we’ve continued to receive the care we need.”

—Lilian E, Crete, NE

We All Need To Speak

Seniors Speak is an initiative led by the Nebraska Health Care Association and LeadingAge Nebraska to bring awareness to the increasing needs of the rapidly growing senior population in our state. Many seniors require skilled nursing care or assisted living services and are relying more and more on Medicaid. As the aging population in Nebraska continues to grow, it’s our responsibility to ensure that Medicaid funding for seniors remains a priority in our state budget. Further cuts to long-term care reimbursement would be detrimental to the well-being of our seniors, the livelihood of caregivers, and our state’s economic prosperity. We have a duty to hear our seniors and help them age with dignity, as well as protect those who care for them. After all, what’s good for the seniors of today, will benefit the seniors of tomorrow.

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