U.S. nursing home population decreased 20%, Census Bureau reports

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The number of American nursing home residents 65 and older decreased by 20% within 10 years, the Census Bureau reported Monday. From 2000 to 2010, the number fell from 1.6 million to 1.3 million.

The “65+ in the United States: 2010” report expands on information related to long-term care and nursing homes compared to older reports. The report investigates a wide variety of topics including longevity, health, socio-economic characteristics, size and growth, and geographic distribution of the 65-and-older population.

This population group has nearly grown 12 times the amount reported in 1900, totaling 40.3 million people in 2010. Experts say those above age 65 will make up one-fifth of the total population by 2050.

Highlights from the report include:

  • By 2010, nearly 96% of nursing home or institutionalized residents had a disability whereas about 37% of non-institutionalized seniors did.
  • The most common difficulties were walking, climbing stairs and doing errands alone.
  • Long-term care Medicaid funds have been shifting away from nursing homes to home- and community-based facilities.
  • For those 65 and older, Medicare covers more than 60% of all healthcare spending while Medicaid covers 4.2%, according to a report in 2012.
  • Alzheimer's disease was the fifth-leading cause of death among older people in 2010, compared to the seventh in 2000; the death rate more than doubled from 1999 to 2007.

The report was prepared by those affiliated with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Division of Behavior and Social Research at National Institution on Aging commissioned this report, along with three previous additions.

To access the full report, click here.

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