CHA News Article

Report Examines Whether California’s Supply of Services Will Meet Senior Demand

The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) has released a report that examines how the state’s health care infrastructure will be affected by the aging of the baby boomer generation and longer life expectancy. According to the report, California is home to the largest population of seniors in the country. In 2013, 4.8 million Californians — nearly 13 percent of the state’s population — were age 65 and older, and the senior population is projected to more than double to over 10 million people in 2040. In addition, the population age 85 and older is projected to nearly triple to 1.7 million residents in the same period.

This unprecedented growth in the senior population is expected to have a significant impact on the state’s health care system, as seniors use health care services at much higher rates than those under age 65. The report, Beds for Boomers: Will California’s Supply of Services Meet Senior Demand?, examines the growth in California’s senior population and potential impacts on acute care hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, home health providers and residential care facilities.

Key report findings include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of California seniors had two or more chronic conditions in 2012, and more than one-third had four or more. Multiple chronic conditions complicate the delivery of care for these individuals and likely increases their demand on the health care system.
  • Californians age 65 and older use acute care hospital days at higher rates than those under age 65. However, since 2008, acute care days used by seniors have declined despite the growth in the senior population during the same time.
  • There is significant regional variation in health care utilization rates, as well as projected population growth. If current trends continue, the Inland Empire and the San Joaquin Valley will have barely enough acute care beds to meet demand in 2040.
  • Seniors use long-term care, home health and hospice services at much higher rates than younger Californians. As the state’s population ages, the demand for all of these services is expected to grow dramatically. At current rates of use, demand could exceed the supply of skilled-nursing facility beds by 2020 and residential care community beds shortly after 2030.

The full report is available on the CHCF website at