In Economic Boom Times, Why Do More Elderly Women Die in Nursing Homes?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It may seem counterintuitive, but a healthy economy is bad for human health, at least when it comes to elderly women in nursing homes.
A paper produced by researchers at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College concluded that mortality rates tend to rise when the economy is doing better. Increases in deaths are more prevalent among seniors, and especially women in nursing facilities (where female patients already outnumber male patients).
“The conclusion is that an expanding economy generates a greater scarcity of front-line caregivers in nursing homes,” according to the paper. “In tight labor markets, it is easier for nurses and aides in nursing homes to migrate to better jobs elsewhere.”
Fewer qualified nursing aides in care facilities means a drop in the quality of care, which can negatively impact the lifespan of patients, the researchers concluded.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:

Why Do More People Die During Economic Expansions? (by Ann Huff Stevens, Douglas L. Miller, Marianne Page and Mateusz Filipski, Center for Retirement Research) (pdf) 


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