For many families, the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home can be a tough one — not only for them, but for the family member. However, the decision can ultimately be a positive one for the entire family and ensure that your loved one receives better care than they could at home, feels less isolated or lonely, and keeps them safe. Nursing home residents receive many benefits and may often have a better quality of life at the home than at their own home or their family member’s home. Though it might take a little while to adjust to the idea, ultimately many people find it a positive change once they’ve settled in. Of course, the right research has to be done to make sure it’s a good fit. Let’s discuss the advantages of using a nursing home and what you should be looking for.
What Benefits Do Nursing Home Residents Receive?
- Increased Safety Nursing home residents are much safer at nursing homes than in their own home, because they can receive assistance with basic tasks (think bathing, changing clothes, running errands, etc.), minimizing the risk of an accident like a slip or a fall. There’s also staff on 24/7 so someone is available if they need help or to make sure that they’re getting the help they need when they need it. And if an accident does happen, someone can be there immediately to provide basic medical assistance or call for medical professionals.
- Better Social Life
Many seniors experience loneliness later in life and though being physically active can help ward off some of that loneliness and isolation, it won’t fix everything. However, nursing homes are full of social activities and ways that one can meet their peers also in residence. Organized events promote friendships and help keep people busy with activities they enjoy.
Furthermore, a study done in 2008 showed that seniors that had the most social integration had their memories decline at half the speed of those who were the least socially integrated. In short, being around people is healthy and good for seniors (and for everyone!) and a nursing home can help promote that.
- Improved Quality of Living
In addition to being safer and having a social component to one’s day, the overall quality of life generally goes up. For one thing, housekeeping is usually taken care of by the home, so seniors don’t have to worry about doing laundry or cleaning their rooms or bathrooms, which can be taxing and hard to get to. They’ll be in a hygienic and tidy place without much effort on their part.
They’ll also receive meals from the home, as well as snacks, and many homes are flexible in working with any dietary restrictions or requirements, as well as personal tastes. In some cases, a dietician may even be part of the staff to ensure that everyone is getting their nutritional needs met.
And most of the time, the specialized medical staff is also on hand for treatment that a person wouldn’t get in their own home or in a family member’s home.
What Should I Be Looking For In a Nursing Home?
You want a home that is kept clean and odor-free, things that are pretty evident upon walking in. Inquire about food (and see if you can view it or even sample some) to get an idea for the quality of meals provided. Are dietary restrictions able to be met? Can meals be specialized depending on what your loved one needs?
Talk with the staff to see what their shifts are like — overworked staff might mean that residents aren’t getting adequate care. And see if you can speak to nursing home residents directly as well, without staff around, to hear firsthand what their experiences are like.
You also want to see if personal care needs are being met and how they problem solve if an issue arises — responses and reactions can be very telling.
Make sure that your loved one is safe and well cared for by choosing the nursing home that’s right for him or her.