The shifting demographics of America’s aging population are changing the historic ethnic mix in rest homes. Health care administrators have reported that the increase in minority clients in rest homes has been further influenced by the so-called “white flight” phenomenon, in which more affluent white seniors choose to move into alternative living facilities other than conventional elderly care facilities.
A Brown University study reported that while the numbers of Hispanic, Asian, and Black rest home residents increased by 54.9%, 54.1% and 10.8% respectively, the population of white rest home residents dropped by 10.8%. These results may indicate unequal minority access to home and community-based alternatives, which are generally preferred for long-term care.
Further research is required to determine if economic factors are effecting traditional care options for minority seniors, with a special examination of immigrant seniors. Changes in care options that children of the seniors consider acceptable may be undergoing a cultural shift.
Title: Growth of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in US Nursing Homes Driven by Demographics and Possible Disparities in Options
Authors: Zhanlian Feng, Mary L. Fennell, Denise A. Tyler, Melissa Clark, & Vincent Mor
Publication: Health Affairs, vol. 30 no. 7 (July 2011), pp. 1358-1365
Student Researcher: John Hurley, College of Marin
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman, College of Marin