The Silver Tsunami is no joke, especially for America’s most rural and underserved regions struggling with limited healthcare professionals and services to help seniors age in place.
But for states like Montana, which has counties where nearly 25% of the population is over age 65, the onslaught of the nation’s aging demographic is already causing some strain before the brunt of the baby boomers have even reached that age, according to a recent article from NBC News.
Casting the spotlight on Montana’s McCone County, where residents age 65+ comprise nearly a quarter of the its population, NBC illustrates the growing need to expand aging services, be them healthcare or housing options, to the country’s most underserved and vastly unprepared areas.
“America’s hinterlands have for decades struggled to recruit health providers. But a number of factors make this a turning point,” NBC News writes. “America’s rural residents are by the numbers older, in worse health, and poorer than those in urban areas.”
While 20% of Americans live in rural areas, according to the Association of Medical Colleges, only about 10% of doctors practice there.
In Montana, more than 60% of all primary care physicians practice in just five counties, according to a 2013 report from the state’s Department of Labor and Industry cited in the article.
“It used to be everyone wanted to be the old country doctor,” said Sandra Janzen, a traveling physician’s assistant who worked in Circle, Montana for a decade. “That breed is dead.”
Read more at NBC News.
Written by Jason Oliva