PBS NewsHour – January 3, 2014
By 2060, nearly one in three U.S. residents will be Hispanic. That population is expected to more than double from the current 53 million to nearly 129 million. And as a group, Hispanics are projected to make up more than a fifth of the 65+ U.S. population by 2060.
The non-Hispanic white population will peak in a decade at almost 200 million. But unlike other groups, it’s projected to slowly decrease through 2060.
And over the past decade or so, the number of nursing home beds has shrunk and the residents are becoming more Hispanic, black and Asian — and less white, as the affluent elderly have opted for assisted living and other more desirable forms of care, according to Zhanlian Feng, assistant professor of community health in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Yet Feng’s research shows that Hispanics and other minorities who need nursing home care are much more likely to live in substandard facilities that are rife with staff issues, endemic with poor care and have a higher likelihood of closing. They’re also more likely to live in urban areas not served by assisted living facilities.
“[Nursing homes] are really the last resort,” Feng said in a release. “Most elders would rather stay in their homes, or some place like home, but not a nursing home unless they have to.”
So as the Hispanic population doubles and they become a larger part of the elderly population, the ability to provide them with quality long-term care could become one of the nation’s biggest challenges. We explore this more on Friday’s NewsHour.