The History of Senior Care, We've Come a Long Way.

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Donna Mae Scheib

The History of Senior Care, We've Come a Long Way.

Posted by Donna Mae Scheib on November 26, 2017

The History of Senior Care, We've Come a Long Way.


Almhouses to Skilled Nursing Facilities |

A walk down memory lane helps us understand the importance of providing quality care to our seniors. It's enlightening and exciting to see how far we have come as an industry. Today, it's also important that we provide education and marketing to help seniors overcome the negative perceptions history has created within the senior care industry.

1760 | Poorhouses & Almhouses | Memories not worth making

pic-2.pngThe industrial revolution displaced many of the elderly because they were unable to hold mechanical jobs in this new era. The Civil War ushered in death and created broken, financially strapped households that could barely survive, let alone take care of their elderly.  Almshouses, public institutions for the homeless, petty criminals, people with epilepsy, unmarried mothers, abandoned and neglected children, mentally challenged and the elderly without means became a norm. This is why we sometimes hear our seniors say things like,

"I need to watch my money or I'll end up in the poorhouse."

1900s | Churches Try to Help the Senior Living Problems pic-3.png

Church groups began creating homes for their elderly. They wanted to save the elderly that had their same religious backgrounds. They didn't want them to spend their last days alongside criminals and the lowest of what they termed society in Almhouses.

1920s | 70% of people at Almhouses were now elderly.

Some elderly individuals were moved from the Almhouses and other groups came in and began providing options for the blind, deaf and other groups. Now Almhouses mainly housed the destitute elderly.

1935 | US Government Enacts Social Security

pic-4.pngThe US government knew that Almhouses were a horrible environment that bred disease, sickness, sadness, loneliness, abuse and much more. The Social Security Act, in part, was designed to get rid Almhouses. It prevented the elderly living in an Almshouse from receiving financial support. On the flip side, elderly that lived in government-approved environments could receive financial support. They thought providing financial incentives would solve the problem.

But it didn't work . . .

The elderly not only needed money, they needed daily care and medical attention. The elderly starting seeking housing in private institutions so they could obtain their government pensions. The government then began giving these private institutions the residents' monthly pensions to cover care and Almhouses were eventually nonexistent.

1954 | Hill-Burton Act Provided Grants for Nursing Homes

pic-5.pngThe nursing home boom started as a result of new government grants wanting to further improve senior care. Nursing homes were modeled after hospitals because in order to obtain the federal funding they were required to be built in conjunction with a hospital. In the late 1950s, SBA loans were made available for stand-alone nursing homes.

1965 | Medicare and Medicaid is passed.

The nursing home boom began to roll with full force, however in the 1970s, senior abuse saturated the headlines. Nursing homes were termed "Park and Die" institutes. The terrifying memories and stories of almshouses returned.

1972 | The Concept of Assisted Living was Born

In 1972, laws were passed that required nursing homes to meet specific requirements to get funding. They wanted facilities to ensure they were providing quality care and taking care of their residents. Some facilities could not pass these requirements. This caused a shift in the industry and the concept of assisted livings and intermediate care was born.

2107 | Today . . .'s directory includes over 80,000 senior care companies. We have come so far.

Our wonderful seniors are now receiving the quality care, medical treatments and services they deserve. Let's continue to improve their lives even more.

SeniorLivingLink.Org is an online directory focused on helping senior care companies get more exposure! Your target market is searching for your services or facility online and they're searching our directory. We also provide social media exposure!


Call (206) 518-2828 |or email Donna@SeniorLivingLink.Org.

This article was sponsored by the online directory
Helping seniors find the right care online.