Getting to a stage where you need more care services than usual is a reality that most elderly people will face. As the body slows down and your systems fail, more things can go wrong, requiring you to take more fragile care of yourself.
Multiple options can be considered for accommodating elderly individuals needing a little more health support. Some families will watch for signs of seniors being ready for in-home care. Others will look for retirement communities where healthcare services are immediately nearby.
One of the most common options for elderly care is a nursing home. These facilities are designed for those who need immediate access to care services but do not necessarily need life-saving measures consistently. Let’s break down the advantages and disadvantages of this method.
Pro: Constant Care
The peace of mind that comes with knowing your care needs can be met is worth many of the disadvantages of a nursing home. Whether you need help taking the right medications each day, assistance with mobility, or need access to certain medical devices, a nursing home staff is equipped to handle all the care needs you could have. This also makes family members feel more comfortable with your living situation since they know you will not be alone and help is nearby if something goes wrong.
Con: Potential for Abuse/Neglect
A sensitive topic in the nursing home field is the rate of abuse and neglect claims filed by victims. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to others who have ill intentions or are simply reckless. In nursing homes, they are at risk from staff members, other residents, and professional caregivers. Sometimes, it could be a complete accident that leads to abuse or neglect. Understanding the problem of nursing home abuse is key to evaluating whether or not this kind of facility is right for you or a loved one.
Loneliness is a common cause of depression in seniors. Many of them have lost friends and family over the years, making them feel like there are few alive that they grew up with. Even if they are surrounded by children and grandchildren at the dinner table, the age difference can weigh on them. Building new connections is crucial in learning to cope with this potential loneliness. However, it is also beneficial for mental health even if the individual does not feel lonely, promoting overall wellness at the same time. Nursing homes have many other residents in similar life stages, so it isn’t hard to find connections with others. Plus, residents usually have a social calendar of events to participate in.
Con: Family Interaction
A mistake that many families make is assuming that an aging loved one in a nursing home cannot be lonely because many others are living at the facility in a similar life stage. As a result, families may visit older relatives less at a nursing home than when they still live at home. That missing component of family interaction can be detrimental to a senior’s mental health, which can be a big disadvantage for nursing homes.
Pro: Physical Safety
A big reason why many elderly individuals move into nursing homes in the first place is because their homes were no longer safe for their needs. Stairways, small doorways, hard flooring, and other home features can make the property dangerous for someone whose mental faculties are starting to decline. A nursing home is designed to be safe for people struggling with their health. That way, you know it is safe for you or your loved one.
A nursing home could come to feel mundane for an elderly individual. The rhythm of the day is often reliant on others rather than determined by the individual residents, so it is possible to feel burned out by the repetitive schedule you are sticking to. There is certainly a little less freedom than there would be if you chose to age in place, but that is the sacrifice you make for constant access to care services.
Is a Nursing Home the Right Fit?
When weighing your options for a long-term living situation, either for yourself or an aging loved one, choosing the right path is crucial. You must find the right fit for your needs to ensure the golden years will be healthy and fulfilling.
Research each facility and check for online reviews to see what other people have said about a particular nursing home. Schedule a visit and check out the facility without having to commit. Weigh the pros and cons listed above to simplify your decision.