Chance of nursing home admission rises after death of spouse

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Seniors are three times as likely to enter a nursing home after the death of a spouse, according to a new report.

The likelihood of nursing home admission is three times higher within one month of bereavement, say researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland. After one to five years, the rate of admission is roughly 20% to 50% compared with living couples. 

Researchers speculate that the grief caused by the loss of a loved one may affect a person's ability to perform daily activities. Depression, anxiety, loss of sleep and appetite, fatigue and diminished concentration are all associated with extreme grief and are all potential causes to seek care from a nursing home or other long-term care facility, the authors say. The report can be found in the online version of the American Journal of Public Health.

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