The average age of admission into a nursing home is 83, and almost half of all residents are placed in nursing homes at age 85 or older. Nursing homes provide 24-hour skilled nursing care and supervision to individuals who have a medical condition or disability that makes them unable to safely remain in their own homes or in an assisted living community.

Seniors who require a nursing home level of care can often get support for that care via Medicaid waivers or local programs for low-income older adults. Those who prefer to avoid nursing home placement may be able to use a combination of home health care services to help them remain in their own homes for longer.

Younger Adults May Also Live in Nursing Homes

According to a recent report by the NCHS, 16.9% of people who live in nursing homes are under the age of 65. Some of these individuals live in a nursing home long-term due to a disability or illness. Others have a shorter stay, such as while recuperating from an injury or operation. Medicare may cover the cost of short-term stays, and other programs are available to help younger adults who require long-term care.

Not Everyone Moves Into a Nursing Home Permanently

For many seniors who move into a nursing home, the transition is permanent. The mean length of stay in a nursing home is 13.7 months. However, some seniors are able to move back to their family homes after a stay in a nursing facility. This may be the case if the reason for their stay was to recuperate after an operation or to heal after suffering an injury from a fall. Physical and occupational therapies can help seniors get back on their feet and return to their normal lives as quickly as possible.