Do you think you probably won’t step foot in a long-term care facility? Well, you’re probably right to say that, but please realize that the reasons why you are right are most likely not for the reasons you may be thinking.
The fact is the reasons as to why you probably won’t step foot in a long-term care facility is based on hard truths: demographics, the basic law of supply and demand and the nation’s lack of health-care providers.
1. Demographics of the United States:
- The Census Bureau reported that in 2015, there were 75.4 million boomers in the U.S. Many of them will turn 70 this year (2020).
- In 10 years, by 2030, about 20 percent of the nation’s population will be 65 and over as every Baby Boomer will be over the age of 65.
- According to recent studies “the population of minors is estimated to grow by only 3 percent, while the population of seniors (aged 65 and over) is estimated to grow by 50 percent” over the next decade.
So, we are aging, and the problem becomes how we will care for all these people as they get older and the population of younger generations become smaller?
2. The basic law of supply and demand:
The supply side:
In 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), in the U.S. there were roughly 15,642 nursing facilities. This may appear to be plenty, but the total number of beds in these facilities stood at about 1.69 million at that time.
By 2017, with an aging population happening before our very eyes the number of nursing facilities and beds, unfortunately, dropped instead of increasing. In 2017 there were 15,483 nursing facilities with a total of about 1.67 million beds.
The supply side is getting smaller.
The demand side:
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, of the 75.4 million Baby Boomers who are heading toward retirement, roughly 70 percent (about 52.7 million people) will need some form of long-term care, with about 25 percent of them (13 million people) needing a stay of longer than three years in a skilled nursing facility.
The demand side is getting bigger.
3. The nation’s lack of health-care provider:
The simple solution, especially when demand is over supply, would appear to open more facilities, but
even that entails hurdles that our demographics dictate we can’t simply hop over, and not just for fear
of breaking a hip.
According to the American Medical Association (AAMA), this country is facing a shortage of physicians as
the AAMA is reporting that by 2030 there will be 42,600-121,300 physician shortage.
This mainly due to enrollment levels in our colleges and universities being capped at the same rates we
had in 1993
This shortage of caregivers unfortunately doesn’t end with just physicians, as the American Association
of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is reporting that ” The Registered Nursing workforce is expected to grow
from 2.9 million in 2016 to 3.4 million in 2026, an increase of 438,100 or 15%. The Bureau also projects
the need for an additional 203,700 new RNs each year through 2026 to fill newly created positions and
to replace retiring nurses”.
There just aren’t enough to be on staff to write prescriptions and provide medically necessary care in
the facilities across the U.S. today, let alone be enough to open up even more facilities.
For LTC procrastinators, the chances of you personally stepping foot, or being wheeled into, a nursing
facility may indeed seem pretty slim. In fact, you are spot on in the thought process that you will never
step foot in a long-term care facility.
And those who have opted to put this issue on the back burner may find themselves completely shut
out as administrators at these skilled nursing facilities will have the option of selecting those who can
afford the care versus those who can’t.
The time for planning to fund a possible LTC need is now, have it be funding to possibly enter a facility or
funding to adult proof your home, because in the future the odds of you receiving that critical care may
just come down to how you planned for it.
Yes, the odds of you stepping foot in a long-term care facility is actually very slim without preparing
for it today.