April 25, 2012

Women with Older Partners More Likely to End Up in Nursing Home

by Levin & Perconti

Considering the frequency with which Illinois nursing home neglect takes places and the dissatisfaction of so many residents, our Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys appreciate that one important way to lower the mistreatment at nursing homes would be to simply lower the total nursing home population. Admittedly, the majority of residents explain that if they had their choice they would rather age in place than be forced to move into a long-term care facility. Unfortunately, for many residents, that is simply not possible.

Nursing home stays usually come in one of two forms: short rehabilitation following serious medical procedures or long-term stays because of overall declining health and life circumstances. In both cases, the stays are usually required for one of two reasons: (1) the medical care needed is so significant that it simply cannot be provided at home; or (2) the resident does not have the private resources to pay for the at-home care needed.

Finances are often at the heart of these decisions. At-home care providers exist which can often help seniors stay in their own home longer without the need to move into a separate facility. However, many residents struggle to find the resources to pay for that care. Because of the cost, many seniors rely on Medicaid support for long-term aid. Medicaid programs have very specific requirements that often force a senior into a home instead of proving at-home assistance.

Of course, each nursing home neglect lawyer at our firm knows that one way around the challenge might be for family members to provide the aid needed. Spouses are obviously the ideal individuals to provide close senior care. Unfortunately, in many situations the senior’s condition has deteriorated to the point where it is impossible for the spouse to provide the care needed as well. This is particularly true in cases where the ill partner is facing serious mental challenges like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

In other situations, one spouse may be just as frail as the other, and so it is difficult for care to be provided outside of the nursing home. That seems to be one reason why women who marry older partners are more likely to end up in a nursing home, according to a new research effort on the facility demographics. As reported in MedlinePlus, the study which appeared in the Age and Aging journal found that older men are usually less likely to be able to provide at-home support to ailing spouses. Those spouses often need to enter a nursing home.

The study analyzed data from more than 20,000 people, and the majority of women had partners who were sicker than they were. As a result, women were 40% more likely than men to be admitted to a nursing home. This was because their partner either died first or was too sick to provide at-home care. Of particular importance the study found that, contrary to some misinformation, senior men are not less likely to choose not to care for their partner. Instead, they are simply physically incapable of providing the care that is often needed.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Winchester House Pays $1 Million to Levin & Perconti Client

Lake County Pays Levin & Perconti Client $1 Million in Negligence Case