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November 1, 2011

No Country for Old People (USA)

No Country for Old People
America’s healthcare crisis hits minority seniors—and things are getting worse.
OCTOBER 31, 2011

Melvinteen Daniels may have been in the autumn of her life, but it shouldn’t have ended the way it did. At a county-run Pennsylvania nursing home, she perished from neglect, her body ravaged by malnourishment and blood infection, according to court documents. Her skin was marred by a pressure ulcer that had grown to about 11-inches wide.
Last summer, a federal appeals court judge allowed Daniels’ family to go forward with a civil lawsuit, which was, like thousands of other nursing home neglect cases, settled out of court. But the Daniels case was unusual for its legal rationale: by invoking an obscure civil rights statute in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, the suit uniquely linked the concept of civil rights with the care of the elderly. Daniels’ death foreshadows a coming crisis in the healthcare system: As a massive number of older Americans — the “gray wave” — are absorbed into long-term care programs, can the system deliver what our elders need and deserve at the most vulnerable stage in their lives?
By 2030, the baby boom will be hurtling toward a senior bust. Nearly one in every five Americans will be sixty-five or older, up from about 13 percent in 2009, resulting in national demographics similar to those that currently exist in Florida. Despite the soaring need for long-term care that such an aging population is likely to entail — a 2008 study project about half a million new nursing home beds would be needed by 2020 — the number of nursing home beds has actually shrunk by 5 percent over the past decade. And as the system confronts a cohort of old people of unprecedented racial and ethnic diversity, it is likely that it is elderly people of color who will suffer disproportionately from these constraints.
Amid the structural challenges of the impending “gray wave,” newly emboldened Republican lawmakers want to gut the Medicare and Medicaid systems that support nursing homes and other long-term care services. Such cuts are likely to result in even greater racial and class inequities in long-term care

(Great article. Please go to SOURCE for the whole article)

Abridged
SOURCE:      InTheseTimes
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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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