-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Women are more likely
than men to be admitted to a nursing home because they're often
married to older men who can't provide care at home due to
age-related physical problems, a new study finds.
Researchers in Northern Ireland analyzed data on more than
20,000 people who were at least 65 years old and living with a
partner in a two-person household in 2001. Of these people, 45
percent were female, 31 percent were aged 75 and older, and 47
percent had a chronic illness.
On average, women were five years younger than their male
partners. Ill health increased with age for both men and women, but
women had sicker partners at all ages, except for those 85 and
Overall, women were 40 percent more likely than men to be
admitted to a nursing home. But once the age of their partner was
taken into account, women were no more likely than men to be
The study appeared April 17 in the journal
Age and Aging.
The findings show that "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," study author Mark McCann
said in a journal news release. "This research has gone some way to
debunking the myth that older men do not want to care for their
"Age differences between partners are evident in most societies, so 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 U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
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