This month is Healthy Aging month, when we focus on our health and wellness as we age. Living arrangements are a big concern for many people as they age. Will they be able to live independently as long as possible? What if an accident or illness makes it impossible to live at home? Will they have to move to a nursing home?
Many people think nursing homes are places where elderly people are bed-confined, lonely, and sad. The stereotypes around nursing homes are varied and usually absolutely false.
Today we’re going to cut through all the misconceptions about long-term nursing, and deliver the facts to you. We’ll talk about the upsides of nursing homes and, yes, the downsides, so you can make an informed decision for your loved one.
Before we go into what makes a nursing home the best option in many cases, let’s first recap the difference between skilled nursing and long-term care. Skilled nursing care is care that can only be given by trained medical personnel, such as doctors and nurses. Skilled nursing includes all rehabilitation services, as well as oxygen therapy and other treatments.
Long-term care is also sometimes referred to as custodial care. This is care for people who need help with activities of daily living, receiving medication, mobility, and other areas.
Nursing homes like Park Crescent offer both skilled nursing and custodial care. Such a facility is often the best choice for seniors who can no longer live alone.
Help With Daily Living
Many older people struggle with everyday tasks, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing. Sometimes they may even have trouble eating or drinking on their own. At Park Crescent, someone is always there to help your loved one. And when it comes to things they can do independently, they have the freedom to do so.
When your loved one is at a nursing home, you don’t have to worry about their safety or security. At a nursing home, your loved one can’t fall victim to phone scammers and fraudsters. Their home is not in danger of burglary, and there are no fire hazards to worry about. The entire building is optimized for safety, with handrails in every hallway and wide open spaces for wheelchair navigation. At Park Crescent, we have a comprehensive safety and evacuation plan in case of emergency.
Immediate Access to Healthcare
Every unit has nurses on staff around the clock to deal with any medical problems that arise. There are also doctors who make their rounds every day to examine the residents and follow up on previous visits. Nursing homes also arrange transports for their residents when they need treatment or therapy at the hospital.
Park Crescent is also lucky to use TripleCare‘s telemedicine service to provide our residents with instant access to doctors overnight and on the weekends. TripleCare’s highly trained physicians can perform virtual bedside visits together with our on-site nurses. Using telemedicine reduces hospital transfers and unnecessary medical expenses for our residents.
Built-in Social Networks
Nursing home residents enjoy companionship and camaraderie, sometimes building deep relationships with their new neighbors. They can also partake in a wide variety of activities, entertainment, religious events, and trips to keep their minds sharp and their bodies agile.
Easing the Burden of Care
Most adults work part- or full-time. Caring for an elderly parent who lives with you or nearby adds another full-time job to your workload, but this one is unpaid. Moving your loved one to a nursing home relieves that strain on you, and gives you the security of knowing your mom or dad is in a safe, loving environment. You can visit as often as you’d like and stay as involved as you want to be in your loved one’s care, but you can also take care of your other responsibilities with a calm mind.
No article exploring the many advantages of nursing facilities would be complete without spending some time on the drawbacks. You deserve to have all the facts in mind when you make this decision.
Here are some disadvantages of nursing homes you need to take into account before making the transition:
- Nursing homes are expensive. Median nursing home prices in New Jersey can run over $100,000 a year. As we discussed in a previous article, Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing after a three-day hospital stay. Absent the qualifying conditions, Medicare will not cover nursing home stays. Medicaid does cover long-term nursing care, but there are income and asset requirements for eligibility. To learn more, contact our admissions office.
- Some freedom and independence is inevitably lost with a move to a nursing home. Residents who are well enough are free to visit their relatives for birthdays, holidays, and other events whenever they want. But if your loved one isn’t ready to give up driving, shopping, and maintaining their own space, a nursing home is probably not for them. You may want to consider assisted living or some other arrangement.
- Change is hard, and moving to a nursing home is no exception. Uprooting your loved one from the home he or she has lived in for years is a tough decision. Some seniors can suffer a bout of depression when they move to a nursing home. To avoid this very real downside, start talking about this move in advance. Make sure your loved one has a say in which facility she moves to, and help her choose several sentimental items to keep with her in her new room. Let him keep his favorite items—a comfortable pillow, family photos, or his preferred newspaper subscription. And of course, don’t forget to visit often, and take her out on trips if she’s up to it.
- Depending on where you live, you may not have a quality nursing home nearby. Moving your loved one to a far away nursing home can be difficult for both of you. If the resident is still married, separating from his or her spouse can be wrenching. Here in New Jersey, we’re lucky to have many excellent nursing homes throughout the state, so your loved one doesn’t have to be too far from you to get high-caliber care.
Whatever your personal feelings about nursing homes are, it very well might be the best option for your loved one who lives alone. Talk to them about it today; you may be surprised to hear they were waiting for you to mention it!