NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Nursing Home Populations Sink

February 3, 2000

A smaller proportion of seniors age 75 and older are availing themselves of nursing home care, according to studies by Brandeis University health economist Christine E. Bishop.

  • In 1985, 58 out of every 1,000 seniors between 75 and 84 resided in nursing homes in the U.S.
  • By 1997, the proportion had dropped to 46 per 1,000.
  • Among those age 85 and over, 257 per 1,000 in that age group were confined to nursing homes as of 1973.
  • But the figures thereafter dropped steadily until by 1997 only 192 in that age cohort lived in nursing homes.

Bishop theorizes that aged seniors are increasingly being cared for in their homes -- depending on Medicare home-delivered health services and the attentions of their families, friends and neighbors.

Another explanation she advances is that seniors today are less disabled than their predecessors, thanks to better medical care.

Source: Peter Brimelow, "Don't Open a Nursing Home Now," Forbes, January 24, 2000.


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