The modern nursing home was born from the Social Security Act, which conditioned payments in a way meant to eliminate state-run “almshouses” serving the elderly poor. Over the following decades, the long-term care sector was radically transformed: The welfare model of almshouses gave way to highly regulated skilled nursing facilities modeled on hospitals, providing a higher standard of care to a far broader population.
Today, long-term care faces another historic transition as approximately 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day for the next 15 years. According to U.S. Census projections, Washington’s population of seniors age 65 and older is expected to grow by more than half a million, from 13.6 percent of the state’s population last year to more than 18 percent by 2030.
Originally published in Seattle Business on March 3, 2014.
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