Nursing homes have long been a bastion of the blue-collar, working-class community.
Now, however, the industry is on the brink of a massive transformation that could dramatically change the way Americans live and work.
The shift could shake up the nursing home industry by opening it up to an entirely new type of workforce, said David Burd, senior vice president of nursing home services at the California-based company.
The goal is to make it easier for people to move into a nursing home with the skills they need.
The company has started pilot programs in Texas and New Jersey.
“We see the need for a lot of people moving into nursing homes,” Burd told The Verge.
“There are a lot more people in nursing homes who don’t have the skills to stay.”
The industry has always been a relatively small and relatively white collar one.
While there are now a handful of large private companies and nonprofit agencies that are dedicated to providing care for the elderly, nursing homes are still largely self-funded and largely reliant on government help.
And the cost of nursing has risen significantly over the last decade as seniors’ health problems have worsened.
“I’ve had to pay a lot less,” said a nurse named Laura, who requested her last name not be used because she worries about her health.
Laura, 55, has been living at her nursing home in Santa Cruz, California for eight years, working full-time, and is also a mother.
She said she’s made the transition from a full-service nursing home to a care home in part because she has to pay for her own medical care and the nursing homes that care for her.
Laura said she feels better about her care than her nursing-home days, and that the cost savings are huge.
“The amount of money I have to pay to the government is a lot, and I can pay it,” she said.
Laura says she can see how a nurse’s transition into a care facility could be difficult.
“You have to work in your own place,” she explained.
“It’s not a place where you have to have a nurse with you.”
The transition to a nursing facility is not without challenges, however.
Laura and her husband have been forced to put off getting a car for their family because of the transition.
“We’re just trying to figure out how we’re going to live with this, and we can’t,” she added.
“If we don’t do it now, we’re not going to have it.”
Laura and her brother and sister-in-law have also been spending a lot longer in the care facility than they would like.
They’ve been able to spend time together and have their own rooms.
But the changes will require the couple to get out of their home, and Laura and the other family members will have to find other housing options.
“I’m not sure I want to leave,” Laura said.
“Our job is to stay.
And if it doesn’t work out, we’ll be the ones left with the bills.”