Detroit’s aging population on collision course with nursing home shortage

The population of Detroit fell by 25% in the decade to 2010, an unprecedented development for a large American city which has created new challenges for its remaining residents.  ROCHELLE RILEY writes in the Detroit Free Press:

Marylyn Thurmond had been a registered nurse at Detroit Receiving Hospital for 13 years when she was diagnosed with arthritis. She has had both hips replaced. Six weeks ago, she was diagnosed with lupus. She also suffers from hypertension, diabetes and coronary heart failure.

Marylyn Thurmond is 57 years old.

Novella Walker-Page was a registered nurse at Hutzel Hospital in high-risk labor and delivery for 26 years before becoming a home care nurse and then a contract nurse for the Detroit Public Schools. One day, she fell from the bus that took her around for student care. During that same doctor’s visit, she learned that she had sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease. She also suffers from hypertension, high cholesterol and atopic dermatitis, a skin condition.

Walker-Page, who cares for her 95-year-old mother at her northwest Detroit home, is 60. She doesn’t think she’ll live as long as her mother or her grandmother, who died at 116.

Thurmond and Walker-Page are among a fast-growing part of Detroit’s population — the new elderly, people who are 50-59 years old but more like 60-74 in terms of their health. Neither, for now, wants or needs nursing home care. But as that need is growing among their age group, their chances of finding it are in decline. READ MORE.