Can Phoenix Handle Its Growing Nursing Home Population?

Phoenix is a popular destination for retirees, and Maricopa County is currently the fastest-growing county in America. In fact, in 2017 alone, Maricopa County saw an increase of 74,000 residents, which is roughly 200 people each day. What’s more, 11.7% of the county’s population is above the age of 65.

Many are beginning to question whether Phoenix can handle this influx.

Many of these new residents will settle in nursing homes, and scammers from the outside and inside know this. Unfortunately, Phoenix has been in the news for the wrong reasons when it comes to nursing home abuse, with a nursing home resident who was in a coma for more than 10 years recently giving birth.

Arizona has long been forecasting an aging population, but it may not be properly prepared to care for it. In 2005, then-Governor Janet Napolitano released a report titled “Aging 2020: Arizona’s Plan for an Aging Population,” which detailed what was then the forecast for the state’s elder demographic, as well as how it would be able to meet their needs.

But is the state currently in a good place to handle an elderly population boom?

Does Arizona Have Enough Home Health Aides to Serve the Elderly?

The 2005 governor’s report predicted that by 2020, one in four Arizona residents would be over the age of 60. To properly serve this demographic, the report recognized that Arizona would need to increase its efforts to attract more home health aides (HHAs) to help serve the elderly.

The report correctly pointed out an alarming statistic – that the growing elderly population was far outpacing the growth in the workforce of people to serve these elderly residents. In 2000, the actual population of people 85 and older in the state was 68,525. The projection for 2025 was an increase of 102%, or roughly 138,138 people.

In 2001, the state had a ratio of one HHA for every 1,000 people over the age of 85. In total, there were 10,200 HHAs iat the time. To meet the needs of the projected increase in the elderly population, the number of HHAs would need to grow by 100 percent by 2025. The expected growth in HHAs falls far short of that number, however, leading many to believe that Arizona is ill-suited to handle its increasing nursing home population.

Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise Nationwide

Nursing home abuse is increasing at an alarming rate across the country. In 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives released statistics that showed elder abuse happens in one-third of nursing homes nationwide. Between 2011 and 2015, nursing home abuse complaints increased 37 percent.

If you or a loved one has suffered from elder abuse, it’s important to seek out resources and support to help you. At Miller Kory Rowe LLP, we have experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in Phoenix who can help you with your case. Call us today at (602) 461-8640.

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