Age difference can determine nursing home admission risks

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Age difference can determine nursing home admission risks
Age difference can determine nursing home admission risks
Age difference is likely the reason for women being more apt than men to become nursing home residents, new research indicates.

The long-held assumption that men generally are more unwilling than women to step into a caregiving role for their spouse is a myth, according to researchers from Queen's University Belfast.

“The higher admission risk for women in comparison to men appears to be due primarily to the differences in the age and frailty of their partners,” writes study author Mark McCann, Ph.D.

In an effort to explore gender differences in nursing home admission risk, investigators analyzed Irish census data for 20,000 people who were at least 65 years old and living with a partner in a two-person household.

Investigators found that poor health went up with age for both women and men, but women tended to have sicker partners at all ages, except for those age 85 and older.

What's more, they found that women tend to marry men who are older than they are, with an average age difference of five years. 

“It is important that issues raised in this paper are considered in future health planning,” McCann added. “The projected narrowing of the gap in life expectancy between men and women may mean that there are more men around to provide such support in future years.”

The study was published in the journal Age and Aging.