Pros and Cons of Nursing Home Care
As our parents or other loved ones age, we all reach a point where we wonder whether they would be better served in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. It’s a difficult – and very personal – decision that must consider several factors including overall health and finances.
The decision will likely include input from impacted family members and loved ones, as well as family physicians and other medical professionals. As you weigh the possible options, it’s important to evaluate both the positive and potential negative impacts of each decision. Here are a few factors to consider as you begin:
The benefits of moving to assisted living or a nursing home
Less upkeep – It’s no secret that as we get older, our bodies tend to slow down. Tasks that were once easy can become difficult or even impossible. And continued attempts to take on those difficult chores may result in injuries. In nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such chores are a thing of the past, as resident staff members take over cleaning, cooking, and even laundry services.
Access to advanced medical and personal care – Housework isn’t the only daily chore that can become increasingly difficult. Bathing and dressing can also be challenging, as both require a level of balance and mobility that can decline with age. Having assistance as needed can be life-saving, both literally and figuratively. In addition to personal care assistance, nursing facilities are staffed around the clock with nurses and even doctors to attend to routine and emergency healthcare needs.
Ample opportunities for social interaction – Nursing homes often set up events and activities that allow residents fun, engaging ways to pass time and socialize with each other. This can be particularly important since aging has a tendency to isolate us. Seniors who do not live in nursing homes or assisted living communities often have very few people their own age to talk with. Most nursing homes also offer planned activities. Activities are rarely mandatory, but studies have shown that seniors who have a choice in which activities they want to participate in tend to be both happier and healthier.
The potential downsides
Potential expense – Nursing homes provide full-time access to trained staff, which comes with a price. AARP estimates that a nursing home can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year, but fortunately, most people are able to use Medicare benefits to help cover some of the costs of nursing homes or Medicaid to cover long term care needs. Most facilities offer a range of programs – providing varying levels of care, assistance, and even room sizes – to accommodate a variety of financial situations.
Potential poor care – While this has been a risk in the past, there are a number of inspections and certifications you can rely on to make a reliable decision. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offers a five-star rating system based on health inspections, staffing levels, and quality measures so you can easily select a facility that meets your needs.
One other aspect of nursing home living that’s neither a pro nor a con is its structured lifestyle. While the idea of having pre-set meal times and preplanned daily activities may appeal to some, it may feel like a sacrifice of one’s independence. Be sure you seek out a facility that will best suit the personality of your parent or loved one to be sure you find the best match.
The decision is yours
The decision of whether to move a senior relative to a nursing home can be difficult, but with the right guidance and support, you can help make a decision that can prolong their overall independence and improve their quality of life. The staff of professionals at the four- and five-star CMS ranked American Health Care facilities in Alabama can provide you with the information you need as well as tours and interviews to help you make that decision.
Nursing Care Centers managed by American Health Corporation – including three locations in Alabama – are well prepared to help manage you or your loved one’s healthcare needs and are proud to offer the highest quality skilled nursing healthcare and programs designed to allow residents to maintain the skills and abilities needed to live as independently as possible.
Contact the American Health Corporation nursing home in your area today for more information or to schedule a guided tour:
Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383
Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054
Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696