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Obesity Changing the Face of Elderly Care

Update Date: Dec 21, 2015 03:03 PM EST

Elderly care for obese patients is becoming a cause of grave worry for the nursing homes. "The population is shifting faster than the ability of nursing homes to deal with them," said Cheryl Phillips, a senior vice president at LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of services for older adults. "We don't have adequate staff. We don't have adequate equipment. We don't have adequate knowledge."

There has been a sharp rise, nearly 25% in 2010 from 14.7% in 2000, as per new study, and if the signs were to be believed, this trend is on a rise. The elderly entering the nursing homes range from moderate to severely obese with a BMI of 35 or more.

As the demand for the obese elderly care increases, the administrators from nursing homes say that they are unable to afford the care of these adults as Medicaid, covering 60% of residents from all the nursing homes does not pay for specialized equipment required for these people such as large wheelchairs, motorized lifts, blood pressure cuffs, longer intramuscular needle, shower chairs and bedside commodes. These devices are extremely expensive costing as much as $10,000 for the mechanical lift and extra $5000 for a wider bed. "It's really not a moneymaker," said Aundrea Fuller, the co-owner of Generations of Red Bay, the private, for-profit facility that cares for patients in a specially outfitted wing that can accommodate 10 obese patients. Fuller has included an open unit in her facility that aides for obese elderly. But the unit is always in a waitlist and makes not much business sent. "You've got to do it because you have a heart for it," she said, as reported by Yahoo News.

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