While retirees and their loved ones struggle to afford the high price of assisted living, top level executives at such facilities are raking in millions of dollars in compensation every year.

It was recently made public that Laurie Bebo, president and CEO of Assisted Living Concepts Inc took home approximately $1.36 million in total compensation last year. Bebo is one of four top-level executives at the company, but surprisingly her compensation doesn’t come close to what some executives are collecting at other assisted living companies. Emeritus Assisted Living reported 2010 revenue of $1 billion with a profit margin of roughly 30 percent. In 2009 Emeritus paid its two Co-CEOs Daniel Baty and Granger Cobb a combined $2.94 million in total compensation. The most outrageous example comes from the astonishing $6.34 million collected by Brookdale Senior Living CEO W. Sheriff for the year 2009.

Since none of the major assisted living companies have come to the government seeking bailouts it is difficult to argue in favor of limiting their executive compensation. We can argue for one of two things, either a reduction in the fees charged by assisted living facilities or a government subsidy towards tuition at private care facilities.

With the average cost of assisted living somewhere between $4000-$6000/month it is difficult for most retirees to afford. The average annual income for US retirees was $29,214 in 2008, which is $2,434 monthly gross income. Thus, most private assisted living facilities are out of reach for at least half of America’s retired citizens. Since retirees ability to earn income is limited they must rely on their family members or the US government for financial assistance.

Although the US government already provides funding towards assisted living through Medicare, this funding is not sufficient to provide the amount of assistance needed on a large scale. As more baby boomers enter retirement this disparity will only increase. There is demand and necessity for a new program with separate funding from Medicare to help those in need afford the higher quality assisted living facilities.