The population of “old old” people in high-income areas of Los Angeles County is growing quickly, but the number of nursing home beds per 1,000 elderly residents in those areas is shrinking.

Vivian Wu, a health care economist at the University of Southern California, has included a peek at trends in nursing home supply and demand in Southern California in a paper on access to skilled nursing facilities.

When Wu looked at areas in Los Angeles that ranked in the top quarter in terms of income, she found that the number of nursing home beds in those areas per 1,000 elderly residents fell 4% between 2001 and 2010, to 29.

During that same period, the number of people in the high-income areas ages 85 and older jumped 42%, to 1,460. 

In spite of the drop in the bed-to-elderly-resident ratio, a decrease in the average length-of-stay helped the homes accommodate more people. The average length-of-stay fell 12%, to 140 days.