As your parents, grandparents, or any other beloved senior citizen in your life continues to age, you’ll start to wonder if they’ll be able to take care of themselves. You may be wondering what would be the best option for them. Should they stay at home, move in with you or another family member, or should you consider a nursing home?
Nursing homes are facilities for elderly individuals who can no longer be cared for at home. Nursing homes are clinical settings where both personal and medical care are provided for its patients. Assisted living facilities are similar to nursing homes, except that they mainly provide personal care instead of medical care. Nursing homes can also provide care for non-elderly individuals who require 24-hour care. There are certain factors to consider when deciding whether to place your loved one in a nursing home, and there are both advantages and disadvantages of nursing homes.
Pros of Nursing Homes
The main benefit of nursing homes is that your loved one will receive full-time care. This is especially beneficial if your loved one suffers from diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s, and they cannot be left alone for fear of wandering off. Nursing homes also allow your loved ones to be around people in their age group, as many older people tend to feel lonely. Many nursing homes also allow for its patients to be physically active and engage in many social activities— things in which they may not be able to do if living home alone.
Cons of Nursing Homes
Placing your loved one in a nursing home can be very expensive, easily averaging to about $100,000 per year. Of course, this is for high-quality nursing homes, which is what many people look for due to another downfall of nursing homes: abuse. Unfortunately, some patients in nursing home facilities experience psychological, verbal, physical and financial abuse, and only a few get the justice deserved from it. Being sick and/or disabled paired with a limited amount of freedom can easily create conditions for abuse. This is why it’s important to research before placing your loved one into a nursing home.
Aging in Place
Aging in place is referred to as the ability to live independently in a safe and comfortable manner in one’s own home. Many senior seniors who have the ability, choose to live out the rest of their lives in their own homes, as opposed to a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
Pros of Aging in Place
Those who age in place tend to have an overall improved quality of life. Many senior citizens love familiarity and have an established routine, making this a healthy option for them. Though nursing homes offer round-the-clock care, some can be overcrowded, limiting the amount of care received by patients. They can also harbor bacteria and viruses, such as the COVID-19 virus, in which close to half of all COVID-19 deaths were linked to nursing homes in 2020. When your loved one takes the route of aging in place, this lessens their chances of contracting life-threatening illnesses.
Cons of Aging in Place
The main con of aging in place is that your loved one will not have 24-hour care like they would in a quality nursing home. This may not be a problem if your loved one is active and healthy. There may also have to be some modifications made to their home, such as making bathtubs and showers more easily accessible. Some elders may even have to move into a smaller home to avoid going up and down stairs. Aging in place can also potentially cause your loved one to feel isolated and lonely if they’re not particularly active or receive visitors.
When deciding what’s best for your aging loved one, there are many things to consider— one being their health. If they have no major illnesses, then it may be possible for them to age in place. Just keep in mind that some home modifications may have to be made. As far as nursing homes, they are definitely better for those who have major illnesses and/or cannot take care of themselves. If this is the case, then you’ll want to do your research before placing them into a nursing home.