RuralAge is a program established by LeadingAge Kansas to cater to the unique needs or rural aging services providers.  We have created this web site and supporting programs to help the small rural not-for-profit aging service providers survive and excel in the future. Our goal is to provide management support and strategic planning resources to your organization in an economical and efficient way. Learn More about The RuralAge Project

In the coming years, the delivery of services to seniors will be more challenging in rural communities than in any other population. According to the federal agency of the Office of Management and Budget currently, 25% of seniors in the U.S. live in a rural community, either alone or with their spouse. In many of these communities, the not for profit nursing facility is the primary provider of services to the frail elderly.

Yet, the federal and state reimbursement and regulatory systems under which you operate provide no special treatment or encouragement to encourage your survival for the long term. Even with the great demand for home and community based services by the elders, there is no special consideration given to rural providers.

What is unique about rural providers?
The Southwest Rural Health Research Center of the School of Public Health at the Texas A&M University completed a study of “Nursing Homes in Rural and Urban Areas”. Here are the key findings:

  • 40% of the nation’s nursing homes are located in non-metropolitan areas.
  • Rural nursing homes tended to be smaller than those in metropolitan areas.
  • Rural nursing homes were more likely to be not-for-profit and government owned.
  • Rural nursing homes were less likely to be certified to participate in Medicare.
  • Residents in rural nursing homes were more likely to depend on Medicaid to pay for care.

Unique characteristics of seniors in rural areas:

  • The general population in rural areas has a higher percentage of individuals likely to need long-term care services, particularly those over age 85.
  • In all locales, the most common route to a nursing home was through an acute care setting.
  • The proportion of residents entering a nursing home from a private home, with or without services, increased with rurality.
  • There is no clear effect of locale on the level of cognitive impairment.
  • Among longer-stay residents, severe ADL impairment decreases as rurality increases.
  • The Total Case-Mix Index decreases with rurality.
  • Ten (10) of the 19 indicators of potential quality problems are higher in all three non-metropolitan locales than in purely urban settings.

Articles Developed by LeadingAge Kansas on Rural Considerations

Accompanying Presentations for Rural Boards

Additional Resources