Over the last several years, nursing homes have become a dumping ground for young and middle-aged people with mental illness, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.
The results? Younger, stronger residents with schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder are living beside frail senior citizens and sometimes taking out their rage on them, the AP found.
In 2006, for example, 77-year-old Norbert Konwin died at a nursing home in south Toledo, Ohio, 10 days after authorities said his 62-year-old roommate beat him with a bathroom towel bar, according to the Toledo (Ohio) Blade.
There were nearly 125,000 young and middle-aged people with serious mental illness living in nursing homes last year, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data sent exclusively to the Associated Press. That’s up 41 percent from 2002 when nursing homes housed 89,000 mentally ill people ages 22 to 64.
Several forces are behind the trend, including closure of state mental institutions and a shortage of psychiatric hospital beds. In addition, more nursing home beds are available because senior citizens are leading healthier, more independent lives.
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