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43% of mentally disabled facility residents have lived in care homes for at least 25 yrs

More than 40 percent of intellectually disabled residents of major care facilities have lived at such institutions for at least 25 years, a survey conducted by the Mainichi Shimbun has shown.

The operators of over 70 percent of these surveyed homes think a shortage of personnel has posed a challenge to their care services, according to the survey.

The government has adopted a policy of helping reintegrate intellectually disabled people living at care facilities into their respective regional communities. However, residents at these facilities are growing older and their conditions are becoming increasingly serious, making it difficult to return them to their communities.

In June and July this year, the Mainichi Shimbun surveyed 120 care homes for people with disabilities across the country with a capacity of at least 100 residents -- almost as large as Tsukui Yamayuri En in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, where a man fatally stabbed 19 intellectually disabled residents a year ago. Of them, 84 facilities, or 70 percent, responded.

Those living at these facilities for at least 25 years accounted for 43 percent of 10,838 residents at these 84 care homes, according to the results.

When asked why these patients cannot be easily reintegrated into their regional communities, with multiple answers allowed, the most common answer was opposition from residents' families, at 81 percent, followed by the aging of the residents (79 percent) and the severity of the residents' disabilities (75 percent). Those who cited residents' own will to stay at such care homes made up a mere 38 percent.

The outcome suggests that many of the families of intellectually disabled people apparently think they can feel more secure by continuing to place the disabled family members in care homes as both the residents and their families are aging.

By age, 5 percent of residents at the surveyed facilities are below 30, 10 percent are in their 30s, 21 percent are in their 40s, 23 percent are in their 50s, 26 percent are in their 60s and 16 percent are aged 70 or older.

Forty-nine percent of all residents at the surveyed care homes are certified as being in need of level-6 assistance -- the severest level of disability -- while 29 percent are in need of level-5 care, 17 percent are in need of level 4, 5 percent are in need of level 3, 0.5 percent are in need of level 2 and 0.05 percent are in need of level 1. This shows that those with severe intellectual disabilities and aged residents are remaining at these facilities.

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