NIC/NORC Study: Seniors Have Better Health Outcomes in Seniors Housing Than at Home

by Jeff Shaw

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Older adults who moved into seniors housing experienced the same or better health outcomes compared to those who live in the greater community, according to research conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.

This is a core conclusion of a body of research showing how seniors housing communities can improve access to safe and high-quality care for older adults. The research found that people who move into seniors housing experience decreased vulnerability, receive more healthcare services at home, and have slightly increased longevity compared to older adults living in the community.

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

Researchers measured common, high-cost, adverse health events for older adults that preventative or rehabilitative care can mitigate. Overall, older adults who move into seniors housing experience better health outcomes than their peers living in the community, including:

  • Lower rates of inpatient admissions from the emergency department.
  • Lower rates of inpatient admissions due to physical injury, hip fracture, wounds, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dehydration, or urinary tract infection.
  • Similar rates of inpatient admissions due to falls, hypertension, community-acquired pneumonia and uncontrolled diabetes.

“Seniors 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,” says Lisa McCracken, NIC’s head of research & analytics. “Emergency department utilization is higher among seniors housing residents, which may be driven by regulatory requirements or being overly cautious in response to an incident such as a fall. There is an opportunity to learn more from these results to potentially avoid an unnecessary ER visit.”

Researchers compared older adults who moved into senior housing communities in 2017 and resided there for two years or until death to a similar group of older adults who remained living in the greater community. To view the full research report, click here

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