Health Care

Aging Population Means More Facilities

By Ken Little, posted Sep 7, 2018
Demographics show Brunswick County is graying as more retirees move south. Fittingly, more adult care facilities are also being built in the ever-growing destination.
One example is near Shallotte. In July, the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Health Service Regulation issued a certificate of need for a new “freestanding 110-bed facility with a 48- bed special care unit.”
The Brunswick Community, at 5220 Ocean Highway W., was issued the CON certificate on July 21. The certificate was granted to The Brunswick Community LLC and Brunswick AL Properties LLC, both headquartered in Rocky Mount in Nash County.
The listed capital expenditure for the property is $8.5 million, an increase of $2.23 million over the previously approved capital expenditure of $6.26 million.
Financing was obtained in August 2017, and the land was acquired in September 2017, according to the CON.
Construction was scheduled to begin in July. The property was still being cleared in August. Twenty- five percent of the project is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 30, with 50 percent done by Feb. 1, 2019, and 75 percent completed by June 1, 2019. The final completion of construction is listed on the CON certificate timeline as Sept. 30, 2019.
Services are scheduled to be offered by Oct. 1 next year, the same date Medicare and Medicaid certification is set to be obtained.
U.S. Census data shows what most area residents already know – that Brunswick County has grown in leaps and bound since the year 2000.
Fully 29.3 percent of Brunswick County’s current population is age 65 or older, said Kirstie Dixon, county planning director.
More assisted living facilities are needed as increased numbers of retirees move to the county, said Helen Bunch, Brunswick County zoning administrator.
Some people who move to Brunswick from other areas eventually find themselves in need of assisted care, Bunch said.
“Maybe they need help with meals and to get around,” she said. “We haven’t had those types of facilities here.”
As health issues arise, Brunswick County residents can remain here rather than move back to where they came from to be cared for by family and friends, Bunch said.
“We’re delighted because it allows people to stay in the community. They don’t have to make another move,” Bunch said. “They can stay in the county as opposed to moving out of the county.”
The average age of county residents as of 2015 was 50. The average age has increased about six months each year from 2009, when the average age figure for Brunswick County was 46.1 years.
Brunswick County was the fastest-growing county in North Carolina between 2000 and 2015. The population was 73,141 in 2000, 107,431 in 2010 and 122,765 in 2015. Population growth between 2000 and 2015 totaled nearly 50,000 people, or 68 percent.
In 2010, the age 65-and-over population of Brunswick County was about 23,000. The estimated population of that age group in July 2017 was nearly 40,000.
Many are seniors or members of the baby boom generation born between 1946 and 1964. Many will gradually require assisted living facilities such as The Brunswick Community, officials said.
Dixon said the county continues to experience steady growth and was ranked first in growth in North Carolina and 29th nationwide in 2017.
She said Brunswick County is unique in its location between two growing metro areas, Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is also along the Atlantic Ocean.
“It’s also unique in that 29.3 percent of the population is over the age of 65,” Dixon said.
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