Pennsylvania’s Aging Population of Senior Citizens in Nursing Homes

Date: December 27, 2011

General Overview of Pennsylvania\’s Elder Population & Issues affecting Nursing Home Residents

Pennsylvania\’s Aging Population

  • Pennsylvania has almost 2 million citizens over age 65 (2007 Census)
  • By 2020, Pennsylvania\’s 60 and older population is expected to be 25% of the total population — more than 3 million people. By 2020, the number of people age 85 or older is expected to increase 10% to more than 360,000 residents. ( 2007 Census)

Long-term care statistics

  • Nearly 70 percent of those turning 65 this year eventually will require long-term care in their lifetimes (2006 Congressional Quarterly Report).

Pennsylvania\’s Nursing Homes

  • Pennsylvania has approximately 725 nursing homes with over 89,000 beds (PA Dept. of Health).
  • Nursing homes, on average, are more than 91% occupied (PA Dept. of Health).
  • Nationally, the average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is $74,806. The average annual cost for a private room in a Pennsylvania nursing home is $77,646. In the greater Philadelphia region, the cost is higher, at $91,954 annually (Genworth Financial 2007 Cost of Care Survey).
  • In Pennsylvania, the typical nursing home resident is more likely to be female, over the age of 85, widowed and have some form of dementia (PA Dept. of Health).

How big is the problem?
In 2003, 1.5 million people 65 and older lived in nursing homes. If current rates continue, by 2030 this number will rise to about 3 million. About 5% of adults 65 and older live in nursing homes, but nursing home residents account for about 20% of deaths from falls in this age group. Each year, a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls. Many falls go unreported. As many as 3 out of 4 nursing home residents fall each year. That\’s twice the rate of falls for older adults living in the community. Nursing home patients often fall more than once; the average is 2.6 falls per person per year.

About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot walk.

Pennsylvania's Again Population of Senior Citizens Nursing Homes
Pennsylvania's Again Population Infographic - DLPLaw

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How serious are these falls?

  • About 1,800 people living in nursing homes die each year from falls.
  • About 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries; 2% to 6% cause fractures.
  • Falls result in disability, functional decline and reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.
Sean McDonough
Upon graduation from law school, he entered the private practice of law with Dougherty, Leventhal & Price. He has been a partner with the firm since 1993. Over the years, Sean has concentrated his practice in the areas of personal injury litigation; he has also represented governmental entities and officials in federal civil rights and employment lawsuits. Sean also works on many of DLP's Nursing Home Abuse cases.