The Aging-In-Place Disparity in California’s RCFEs: Medical Needs in Non-Medical Facilities, by Christina L. Selder, M.S. & Christine M. Murphy, M.S.Presented at the Gerontological Society of America, Annual Scientific Meeting (Social Research, Policy & Practice) on November 20-24, 2013
Purpose: The vast majority of older adults (90%) report a preference to age-in-place and research has identified the value of older persons remaining in the same place till the end-of-life. Aging-in-place has become an integral component of the philosophy and promise of the assisted living (AL) industry. CARR’s ongoing public record research suggests that California’s policy and practices are creating an increased risk for older adults who choose to remain in assisted living facilities (ALF) and age-in-place. CARR’s study examined the conceptual intersection where medical needs, non-medical facilities, and California’s AL regulations come together. Results: 73% (n=461) of ALF in the region had received authorization from the state to care for at least one medically-needy resident. Of the 73% authorized to care for a medically-needy resident, 14% of these facilities were authorized to have 50 to 100% of their resident capacity as medically-needy (n=88). There were 1,510 hospice beds and 829 bedridden beds (N=17,423 beds) identified within the San Diego and Imperial Counties region. Conclusion: This study reinforces that ALF in one region of California are electing to care for a more medically-needy resident population. However, ALFs are still considered, per California regulation, to be non-medical facilities which could be creating an increased risk for residents who chose to age-in-place. Implications: This research highlights, and in a small way quantifies, a critical disconnect in California between what state regulations say AL is and its manifestation as a consumer product.