States Where Seniors Use Assisted Living the Most

If you’re speaking with seniors in the Pacific Northwest, there’s a good chance that they are residing in an assisted living community. That’s because Oregon and Washington have the highest rates of residential care use in the nation, according to data posted last Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The information came as a supplement to a report—Long-Term Care Providers and Services Users in the United States: Data From the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, 2013–2014—that was released in February 2016.

In terms of seniors 65 years and older, Washington and Oregon both posted a rate of 42 out of 1,000 people living in a residential care community on any given day, as of 2014. Among the cohort of seniors 85 and older, Oregon edged Washington for top honors, with a rate of 166 versus 165. That’s based on 2014 data from the CDC’s National Study of Long-Term Care Providers.

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These two states dramatically beat the national residential care use rates, which were 17 for the 65-and-older group and 62 for the 85-and-older group.

The Midwest is another hotbed for residential care, described by the CDC as assisted living communities and similar settings. Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska all beat the national rate for both age groups of seniors.

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Throughout those same Midwest states, the nursing home use rate also was higher than the national estimate in 2014, according to the report. However, nursing home use rates in the Pacific Northwest were significantly lower than the national estimate, and Oregon in particular had one of the lowest use rates in the country, at 26.86 for residents 85 and older. Only Arizona was lower, at 26.46.

As for which states had lower use rates than the national estimate for residential care, many were clustered in the South, including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. However, the lowest use rates were in Iowa and Connecticut.

The supplemental report also offers more granular data regarding each state’s long-term care landscape circa 2013-2014, including the total number of providers, staffing information, resident profile information, and types of services provided.

Oregon boasted about 1,500 residential care communities in that time period, with an average capacity of 21 people. About 43% were chain-affiliated. Nearly 47% of residents had a dementia diagnosis, 6.5% experienced an overnight hospital stay, and 23.4% experienced a fall.

Iowa, on the other hand, had about 50 residential care communities as of that time period, with an average capacity of 32 residents. About 37% were chain-affiliated. About 18% of residents had a dementia diagnosis, 5.8% experienced an overnight hospital stay, and 16.4% experienced a fall.

The National Study of Long-Term Care Providers first was undertaken in 2012 and then again in 2014 by the National Center for Health Statistics. It is based on survey data collected from providers, and administrative data obtained from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), such as claims and assessment information.

Written by Tim Mullaney

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