Growing Numbers Of Young Patients In Nursing Homes

Growing Numbers Of Young Patients In Nursing Homes

The common view of a nursing home is a building full of old people, in walkers and wheelchairs, white hair and bingo games. A recent story from the Associated Press notes that there is a growing population of young (less than 65 years-old) people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

While those 30 and younger only number one percent of the nursing home population, the number of those younger than 65 have increased 22 percent in the last eight years.

A report from NPR notes that ages 31-65 now make up 14 percent of nursing home populations. This is up from 10 percent in 2001.

Advances in life saving technology mean more people with traumatic injuries are surviving, and often require the assistance of a long-term care facility or nursing home. Some arrive from hospitals, to recover from injuries in a less expensive setting, and will eventually return home.

Others, who often have suffered severe injuries in car accidents or some other type of catastrophic injuries, and need constant care, arrive as permanent residents.

There is also the pressure coming from the states, struggling with massive deficits, to reduce costs, including funding for programs that allow people to remain in their homes.

While most residents have physical injuries, some have noted an increase of those with mental health issues, as states also shut down state psychiatric hospitals and end the formal support systems that had been in place for the mentally ill.

Bingo or Music Videos?

A psychiatric issue for younger people without mental health problems in nursing homes is the emotional isolation. They may be 30 or 40 years younger than the average age of the other residents.

Their taste in movies and music are often vastly different from the majority of residents in nursing homes.

A significant issue is the duration of time a young person may be confined in a facility. They may be looking at 50 years of nursing home life.

The facility needs to be able to offer them the resources they need to avoid depression and other long-term mental health issues.

It is also important that the nursing home be capable of providing the full range of therapy and medical care necessary to maintain their health, both mental and physical, for potentially long stays in a nursing home.

If you or a family member needs the services of a long-term care facility, these are some of the issues to review when choosing a facility.