Our Aging Population
The number of Americans ages 65 and older will more than double over the next 40 years, reaching 80 million in 2040. The number of adults ages 85 and older, the group most often needing help with basic personal care, will nearly quadruple between 2000 and 2040 due to improvements in life expectancy that have propelled the increase in the older population. Between 1900 and 1960, life expectancy at birth increased from 51 years to 74 years for men and from 58 years to 80 years for women. Life expectancy's future course is uncertain but could grow dramatically. Some experts claim that half of girls born today will live until age 100.
Long Term Care
The CDC's National Study of Long-Term Care Providers (NSLTCP) is now called the National Post-acute and Long-term Care Study (NPALS). This new name reflects the addition of more post-acute sectors (i.e., inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals), while keeping the same sectors that have been in the study since it launched in 2012 (adult day services centers, assisted living and similar residential care communities, home health agencies, hospices, and nursing homes). NPALS divides survey data between the residential care community and adult day services sectors.
Residential Care Communities - Survey Data
Health Status - The 10 most common chronic conditions among residential care community residents were high blood pressure (55%), Alzheimer disease and other dementias (34%), depression (27%), arthritis (20%), diabetes (20%), heart disease (17%), osteoporosis (12%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and allied conditions (11%), stroke (10%), and cancer (9%).
Demographic - In the United States, the resident population living in residential care communities were mostly female (67%), non-Hispanic white (89%), and aged 85 and over (55%). Overall, 19% of residential care community residents were Medicaid beneficiaries, and residents under age 65 made up the largest percentage of Medicaid beneficiaries (50%).
Care Profile - Residential care community residents needed the most assistance with bathing (77%), walking (69%), and dressing (62%), and a substantial percentage were diagnosed with Alzheimer disease and other dementias (34%) and depression (27%).
Adult Day Services
Health Status - The four most reported diagnoses were high blood pressure (51%), diabetes (30%), Alzheimer disease and other dementias (28%), and intellectual and developmental disabilities (27%). Participants also reported diagnoses of depression (22%), arthritis (19%), heart disease (13%), osteoporosis (13%), severe mental illness (11%), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (7%).
Demographic - Most ADSC participants were aged 65 and over (61%); 39% were aged under 65, 42% were aged 65–85, and 19% were aged 85 and over. Almost 6 in 10 participants of ADSCs were female (57%). Most were of a race and ethnicity other than non-Hispanic white (55%); 45% were non-Hispanic white, 22% were Hispanic, 17% were non-Hispanic black, and 16% were non-Hispanic other. Most ADSC participants were Medicaid beneficiaries (72%).
Care Profile - Among ADSC participants, 17% did not need assistance with any ADL, 18% needed assistance with one or two ADLs, and 64% needed assistance with three to six ADLs. Most commonly, participants needed assistance with bathing (75%), followed by dressing (64%), and walking (58%). Approximately one-half of participants needed assistance with transferring from a chair (54%) and toileting (53%). About 41% of participants needed assistance with eating.
A recent survey of nursing home and assisted living providers by the American Health Care Association shows the industry facing a significant workforce crisis.
- 86% of nursing homes and 77% of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the last three months.
- 99% of nursing homes and 96% of assisted living communities report that they face a serious staffing shortage.
- 58% of nursing homes report limiting new admissions due to staffing shortages.
- 78% of nursing homes and 61% of assisted living communities are concerned workforce challenges might force them to close!
Our long-term care system is in danger of collapse. We must recruit, train, and pay long term care workers a living wage if we are to avoid abandoning our elderly. Private nursing home operators cannot afford and seem reluctant to solve this problem without government wage support. Congress must act quickly.
To request a copy of "The Aging Tidal Wave" a book written by GVT's George Ritacco, that examines the issues facing our long-term care industry, please click the following link https://info.famcare.net/aging-tidal-wave