NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Older Women's Health Improving

January 26, 2000

Americans are living to a healthier old age, even in the last year of life, concludes a study by Loyola University researchers published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Older women especially are spending less time in hospitals and nursing homes.

  • Women age 65 and older had fewer and shorter hospital stays in 1993 compared with 1986, averaging three fewer nights in the hospital.
  • Women ages 65 to 84 spent an average of 18 fewer nights in a nursing home per stay, and women age 85 and older spent 42 fewer nights, on average.
  • And the proportion of women age 85 and older with a restriction of at least two activities of daily living -- a measure of disability -- decreased from 62.5 percent in 1986 to 52.1 percent in 1993.

Men showed no significant change in hospital stays, but those over 85 spent an average of 33 fewer nights in nursing homes.

Source: Youlian Liao, et al., "Quality of the Last Year of Life of Older Adults: 1986 vs. 1993," Journal of the American Medical Association, January 26, 2000; Maribe Villalva, "Americans Have Time to Enjoy Healthier Old Age," USA Today, January 26, 2000.


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