RENO — Nevada is woefully unprepared to meet the demands of a growing elderly population, according to a new report.
Given the state’s existing shortage of medical professionals, health care providers will be taxed beyond their limits trying to cope with the rising number of seniors, the report said.
“Nevada and the nation are facing an aging demographic tsunami,” said Lawrence Weiss, director of the Sanford Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, which helped compile the report.
From 2000 to 2004, the state’s population of residents 65 and older increased by almost 20 percent, five times the national rate of 3.8 percent.
Weiss said the population of seniors will continue to swell as baby boomers, those 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, age.
“We’re facing a perfect storm,” he said. “We get calls all the time from people who can’t find a physician or who have gone without a doctor’s care for years, and it’s going to get worse.”
The 2007 report, “Elders Count Nevada,” is the first of its kind to focus on key health care indicators and other issues facing seniors.
It was based on state and federal data and compiled by the Sanford Center, the Nevada State Health Division and the Nevada Division for Aging Services.
The report was funded through a grant from the state Department of Health and Human Services.