Older Americans in Senior Housing Have Better Health Than Those Living at Home

By on June 24, 2024

Independent living is important for seniors, but a new study shows it might not be the best thing for their health.

Older adults living in senior housing tended to have better health than those who remain in their own homes, researchers found.

People in senior housing are less vulnerable to illness and accidents, receive more health care at home and live slightly longer than older adults who remain out in the community.

Overall, aging folks who move into seniors housing are less likely to need hospitalization, particularly for injuries, hip fractures, wounds, COPD, dehydration or urinary tract infections.

“Senior housing residences can be a center for wellness and healthy aging for older adults, with positive outcomes for those who call it home,” said Ray Braun, CEO and president of the National Investment Center (NIC) for Seniors Housing & Care. The nonprofit NIC provided grant funding for the research.

For the study, researchers with NORC at the University of Chicago tracked common high-cost health problems among seniors.

They compared older adults who moved into senior housing communities starting in 2017 to a similar group of seniors who kept living out in the community.

“Senior housing operators effectively manage residents’ health and lower adverse patient safety events, particularly when older adults move in and are more vulnerable, but more can be done to keep residents healthy while reducing healthcare spending,” Lisa McCracken, NIC’s head of research & analytics, said in a news release.

The researchers did find that senior housing residents were more likely to visit an ER, “which may be driven by regulatory requirements or being overly cautious in response to an incident such as a fall,” McCracken noted.

Further, both groups had similar rates of hospitalization due to falls, high blood pressure, pneumonia and uncontrolled diabetes.

Other research from NIC and the University of Chicago have found that older adults who live in senior housing communities are less frail after moving into a supported setting. They also receive more care from specialty providers like podiatrists, cardiologists and psychiatrists.

The NIC will support further research to estimate the cost savings to Medicare of senior housing, as well as to identify the best practices from some of the top senior housing communities.

“With thousands of aging older adults expected to move into senior housing in the near future, there is a substantial opportunity for senior housing to partner with healthcare payers and providers to improve the lives of older adults,” Braun said.

More information

HumanGood has more about the advantages of senior living communities.

SOURCE: National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, news release, June 20, 2024

Source: HealthDay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *