Searching for a nursing home for his hospitalized father in semirural Massachusetts, a friend of mine recently came up against an unexpected barrier. It’s harder to find a bed for a man than for a woman.
Finding a nursing home for an ailing loved one, and a good nursing home that is affordable, is already a fairly difficult task. Unfortunately, it’s only likely to grow in difficulty as the number of elderly in need of care begins to peak. Unfortunately, too, there are some factors that you just might not think of. Like this: it is disproportionately difficult to find a nursing home for a male patient.
This fact was recently pointed out over at the New Old Age Blog and I thought it was worth sharing. What is working against our male elderly loved ones is not much more than simple math, with a bit of Medicare policy work at play. As you are likely aware, women have a longer life span on average and therefore there are more women in nursing homes to begin with; that’s already a bottleneck based on population statistics. Then you throw in the fact that, under Medicare rules, most rooms in nursing homes are no more than “semi-private”, a delicate euphemism, and co-ed rooms aren’t allowed either. Thus, with more women already in such rooms the more that only women can be admitted into a facility. The math is fairly easy to figure out, but it’s a strange and unintended consequence nonetheless.
Reference: The New York Times The New Old Age Blog (January 30, 2011) “Fewer Beds For Men Entering Nursing Homes”