OccupationalTherapy.com Phone: 866-782-9924

What is the Projected Demographic Shift for the Aging Population in the United States?

Brittany Horvath, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP

January 15, 2024



What is the projected demographic shift for the aging population in the United States?


The United States Census Bureau forecasts a profound demographic transformation, foreseeing a substantial increase in the aging population. From 2020 to 2060, Americans aged 65 and older are expected to double, constituting 23% of the total population. The projection is even more striking for individuals aged 85 and older, with an anticipated tripling during this period. This demographic surge poses challenges as it surpasses the expected supply of healthcare professionals, including generalists, geriatricians, and specialists. Consequently, the healthcare system faces obstacles in providing adequate healthcare for the adult and geriatric populations.

This demographic shift also brings a surge in chronic, life-limiting, and progressive diseases, impacting both physical and psychological functioning. Families and caregivers encounter an escalating burden when caring for elderly loved ones at home, leading to an increased reliance on skilled nursing and long-term care facilities. Notably, in 2017, the CDC estimated that approximately 1.3 million people resided in skilled nursing facilities, with a 113% increase in referrals from hospitals post-pandemic due to staffing shortages in acute care settings.

As the population admitted to skilled nursing facilities rises, the complexity of their care intensifies. Patients with higher acuity and multiple comorbidities necessitate collaboration among healthcare professionals from various specialties. Effective communication and collaboration become paramount for maintaining the quality of care, improving patient outcomes, and reducing healthcare spending.


This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the course Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Between Therapists And Certified Nursing Assistants, by Brittany Horvath.

Brittany Horvath, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP

Brittany Horvath earned her Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication at Westminster College and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology at Clarion University, both in Pennsylvania. She is currently a second-year clinical doctoral student at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions and will graduate in December 2023. Her doctoral research focuses on training speech-language pathologists in palliative care. Brittany spent 13 years in skilled nursing, serving as the Director of Rehab for eight of those years. During her time as the Director of Rehab, she encouraged interdisciplinary collaboration with all members of the team, with a focus on patient-centered care. In January of 2023, she began serving traumatic brain injured and neurologically injured patients through Home and Community rehabilitation with Collage Rehabilitation Partners. Brittany’s interests lie in palliative care, dysphagia, aphasia, and advocating for individuals’ quality of life.

Related Courses

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: Interdisciplinary Collaboration Between Therapists And Certified Nursing Assistants
Presented by Brittany Horvath, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP


Brittany Horvath, MS, CCC-SLP, CDP
Course: #6145Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'This course gave a lot of information and tips on how to better communicate in a work environment as well as provide better care for you patients in that you and your coworkers are on the same page in a nursing environment'   Read Reviews
Interdisciplinary collaboration between therapy and certified nursing assistants in the skilled nursing setting will be discussed in this course. Perceived barriers and ideas for successful implementation will be explored alongside case studies demonstrating outcomes associated with effective collaboration.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: An Introduction to Teepa Snow and Positive Approach to Care®
Presented by Laurie Walther, MS, CCC-SLP


Laurie Walther, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #6144Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'The way the instructor displayed the information made it easier to retain that information'   Read Reviews
There is so much more to supporting a person living with dementia than just knowing they have the diagnosis. This presentation will introduce you to Teepa Snow, the Positive Approach to Care, and skills to support someone living with dementia to promote quality of care and improved outcomes.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: Positioning Around The Clock Matters
Presented by Tamara Kittelson, MS, OTR/L, ATP/SMS


Tamara Kittelson, MS, OTR/L, ATP/SMS
Course: #6148Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'I work in a SNF and I wish every CNA in our facility could watch this seminar'   Read Reviews
Therapeutic positioning for residents of skilled nursing facilities can lead to better sleep quality and daytime alertness, with reduced pain and agitation when provided skillfully throughout the day and night. This course provides 24-7 posture care management theory and benefits for this population while addressing facility challenges and the importance of a team approach.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: Applying GEMS States, A Case Study Utilizing Positive Approach To Care
Presented by Emily Briggs, OTR/L, RAC-CT


Emily Briggs, OTR/L, RAC-CT
Course: #6138Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Excellent presentation'   Read Reviews
The previous course in this series introduced you to Teepa Snow and her Positive Approach to Care. This course will take the skills and techniques learned and apply them to a case study to illustrate how these techniques will promote quality of care and improved outcomes.

Skilled Nursing Facility Interventions: WC19 And The Transportation Of Older Adults In Wheelchairs
Presented by Brenda Mahon, OTD, OTR/L, ATP


Brenda Mahon, OTD, OTR/L, ATP
Course: #6140Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Excellent content'   Read Reviews
Motor vehicle safety for drivers and passengers has increased exponentially over the past forty years. According to the literature, people seated in wheelchairs during travel are forty-five times more likely to be injured in an accident than a typical passenger. Currently, there are no federal regulations for wheelchairs used as seats in motor vehicles. This course will review principles for safe transportation.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.