Racial Disparities in Senior Care & Black Lives Matter
StoriiCare

Racial Disparities in Senior Care & Black Lives Matter

Posted on
June 18, 2020
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Black Lives Matter

At StoriiCare we build care management software systems for care providers. The majority of our clients are in the senior care sector. However, we aim to make our services accessible to care providers of all types, sizes and incomes. From small care homes in the UK to large retirement communities in Indonesia, HIV care to disability day services, large and ethnically diverse adult day cares to skilled memory care. We celebrate the fact we get to work with and support a diverse group of service providers. 

Many of the businesses we are privileged to have as clients are made up of Black service users, staff, and management. Therefore, we feel it is important to make this clear:

We believe that Black Lives Matter. We reject any form of institutional racism, prejudice, discrimination, inequality, or violence against anyone because they are of a different race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political, social, or economic background. Every BIPOC individual should be allowed to age in dignity, fairness and live in a society free of inequality.

Racial Inequity in Senior Care

We recognize that: 

Aging minorities will have fewer choices about how and where to receive long-term care. The legacy of racism in employment and housing ownership has contributed to income and wealth disparities. Consequently, this limits the long-term care options of minority elders. 

The racial wealth-gap is accelerating

Research indicates by 2029, 7.5 million Americans won’t be able to afford assisted living but will make too much to qualify for Medicaid. 

Of those 7.5 million Americans, 83% of African American senior households are expected to have insufficient household resources to live out their remaining years, compared to 53% of Whites.

African American workers are more likely than White workers to say they felt abandoned by coworkers when under pressure at work and more alienated from coworkers,in general. 

African Americans and other minorities are more likely to live in facilities with fewer resources, lower staff nursing ratios and lower quality indicators. 

Racial disparities exist in relation to end-of-life care and pain management. African-Americans are statistically less likely to be assessed and treated for pain. They find it harder to fill prescriptions due to lack of insurance coverage. Additionally, because pharmacies in poorer or minority neighborhoods are less likely to carry opioids (1). Furthermore, African Americans are less likely to have advance directives or to enroll in hospice (2).

Our Commitment to Fighting Racism in the Care Sector

To show our solidarity and support we are: 

  1. Committing to using our platform to raise awareness about racial inequities in the elder care sector. 
  2. Asking our clients working directly with service users to consider: 
  • Using our Analytics feature to filter actions by ethnicity and gender. This will help to observe if there are any inequalities or biases in your care provision .
  • Using StoriiCare to engage in black history and civil rights era reminiscence activities and life story work. So long as you have consent and this is not triggering traumatic or distressing memories for any individual.
  • Engaging in advocacy efforts for policy change.
  • Writing your own Black Lives Matter statement.
  • Holding your management and leadership responsible for creating a safe working environment free of racial prejudice. Speaking up if you see or hear something unfair or derogatory. 

Resources for Addressing Racial Disparities in Senior Care

Diverse Elders Coalition

National Caucus and Center on Black Aging

SAGE

Preparing for LTC Financing Reform: How Can Racial Disparities Be Addressed? 

CDC on Minority Health Disparities

(1) Rizzuto and Aldridge, "Racial Disparities in Hospice Outcomes."

(2) Kimberly S. Johnson, "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Palliative Care," Journal of Palliative Medicine 16, no. 11, (November 2013): 1329-34.

A home health worker shares a tablet with an elderly woman