Study: Facility residents younger than a decade ago

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Residents of nursing homes are younger and tend to be more disabled than they were 10 years ago, according to new study results.

The study, from the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University of Ohio, found that the percentage of facility residents under the age of 65 has doubled, to 14% from 7%, and the average age has fallen to 79 from 83. Residents also are more likely to be cognitively impaired, researchers said.

The study found there is a lower percentage of nursing home residents today -- 4.5% compared to 8.2% in 1994 -- who do not meet the Medicaid intermediate level of care criteria. Shahla Mehdizadeh and Robert Applebaum compiled the study.

Residents not meeting the level of care tend to be younger than the overall resident population, with one one-third under the age of 65, the study found. About 70% have a mental health disorder, with depression being the most common.