Hispanic Elderly More Likely Than Whites To Live In Inferior Nursing Homes

Researchers found that Hispanic elderly are more likely than whites to live in nursing homes of poor quality. These residences are often faced with structural problems, staffing issues and financial trouble.

The research follows up and expands upon a prior study suggesting that blacks are more likely than whites to live in poor-quality nursing homes.   The research is the first full-scale analysis of its kind to attempt to look broadly at Hispanics in nursing homes – what kind of nursing homes they live in and how care at those facilities compares to nursing homes which care mostly for white elderly people.

The most shocking finding, the researchers noted, is the pervasiveness of disparities in nursing home care that are primarily white, compared to nursing homes that are a mix of whites and Hispanic residences.

Traditionally, the group has used formal long-term care services less frequently than any other U.S. ethnic group. They had also been less likely than white or black residents to live in nursing homes. In Hispanic households, elder care has traditionally been handled by adult daughters at home, but acculturation and financial issues have forced a growing number of young Hispanic women into work outside the home.

The researchers noted that the loss of home caregivers is occurring even as the growth of the elderly Hispanic population rises dramatically. The study’s authors estimate that more than 5 percent of the current Hispanic population is elderly, a number that is expected to quadruple during the next 10 years. That number should rise to 4.5 million by 2010.

“People with the financial resources or who have purchased long-term care insurance can get into very good places or alternatives for nursing home care,” Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance explains. “Everyone else is left with facilities that may just not provide the desired level of quality.” Some 8.25 million Americans currently own long-term care insurance.

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