As seniors age and lose independence, their families may be faced with difficult decisions regarding their loved one’s care. One of these decisions is whether to move their aging loved one into a nursing home, which is a senior care facility that offers round-the-clock care and medical attention. They offer more care than an assisted living community. A nursing home might seem like a great option for seniors who can no longer complete activities of daily living or who require regular nursing care. However, there are many reasons to be wary of moving your loved one into a nursing home. In this post, we will give you 13 reasons to keep your loved one out of a nursing home.
1. Limited senior housing
One of the first reasons to avoid a nursing home is that the availability of space is projected to decrease as the senior population increases. That means nursing homes will run out of space to care for large portions of the senior population. As rooms in nursing homes become scarcer, the price for care in a nursing home will skyrocket.
2. Preference of your loved one
Many seniors today would prefer to age in place. Home is comfortable and familiar. Seniors have access to their own items and can relive memories that they have experienced within their 4 walls. Remaining at home can also help a senior feel more confident in their abilities, while helping them avoid the confusion and stress that accompany a move to a nursing home.
3. Poor living conditions
While nursing homes have definitely improved over the decades, there are still concerns over the living conditions for seniors. Within a nursing home, there could be a few hundred seniors living under the same roof. That means no one has much space to themselves. Although you can choose a private room, it’s unlikely that you will have the same space and amenities as an actual home.
Additionally, 1/3 of nursing homes in the United States have a 1- or 2-star rating, indicating that seniors and their family members are not pleased with the living conditions.
4. Health risk
Not only can crowded nursing homes result in poor living conditions, but it can cause illnesses and infections to spread quickly, as we have seen with COVID-19. In close quarters, it is extremely easy for infectious diseases to spread, compromising the health of many residents.
Many seniors in nursing homes also experience depression — in fact, about 40% of nursing home residents have depression. This mental condition can impact a senior’s quality of life and even their physical well-being.
Because nursing homes provide housing and medical staff to support seniors, their prices are steep. Nursing home costs can take a financial toll on a senior and their family. And the costs are just expected to rise over time. However, there are other senior care options, like home care, that are more budget friendly.
6. Lose Freedom
Seniors give up a lot of their freedoms when the move from their home into a nursing home. In a nursing home, seniors really only have control to choose meals, participate in activities, and establish routines. At home, a senior has much more freedom and flexibility in their life.
7. Clinical Environment
A nursing home is designed to house seniors and provide for their health needs. Therefore, a nursing home has to have somewhat of a clinical atmosphere. Doctors and nurses need their equipment, staff needs to be able to sterilize the environment, etc. These features make a nursing home feel more like a hospital or clinic than an actual home.
8. Stretched Staff
Nursing homes take care of large volumes of seniors. This helps them cut down on the costs to hire doctors and staff members. However, that also means that your loved one may receive limited attention from staff because they may be busy taking care of other patients. Or perhaps, information about your loved one isn’t correctly communicated to the next shift. A stretched staff could leave your loved one without proper attention.
9. High Staff Turnover
Nursing homes may be a stepping stone for individuals to further their career in the medical field. As such, many nursing homes have a high turnover. This aspect of their business prevents seniors from being able to build relationships with people who care for them. It can also cause some seniors to become confused.
Many families feel guilty when they cannot care for their senior loved one. This guilt is often compounded when they have to make the decision to remove their loved one from their home and place them in a nursing home. There are other senior care options that can reduce this guilt while providing your aging loved one with the care they need.
We’ve mentioned that seniors can choose private rooms, but the truth is that these rooms are very expensive. Most seniors are in semi-private spaces, which means they have to share their space. In a nursing home, seniors are constantly monitored for their health. However, this can make them feel like they don’t have any privacy. As seniors experience the challenges of aging, the lack of privacy might make seniors feel like they can’t maintain their dignity.
There are many activities for residents in a nursing home; however, seniors may not want to participate. The activities in nursing homes are often designed to be age-appropriate and accessible by all. These activities might not be what your loved one was used to doing before, causing them to be bored.
13. Physical Restraints
Nursing homes do use physical restraints in some cases to help seniors remain safe and avoid falls. However, there have been nursing homes that improperly use physical restraints so they don’t have to check on their patients as often. Many nursing homes are restraint free today, but this issue is still prevalent in senior care.
Luckily, there are other senior care options available for your loved one. Home care is a great alternative to a nursing home or assisted living facility because it allows your loved one to age from the comfort of their own home. Caregivers can provide 24/7 care to ensure that seniors remain healthy, happy, and at home. Learn more about how home care can benefit your loved one by exploring other resources on our site. As always, feel free to contact us to learn about our services.