Unfortunately, there may come a time when you are faced with the tough decision of whether or not to move your loved one into a nursing home. If they have a health condition that requires daily medical care, a skilled nursing facility might be the best option. There are some advantages to nursing homes such as having access to trained physicians onsite and in some cases, nursing home facilities can help provide a senior with a sense of community. However, many people feel the drawbacks of living in a nursing home outweigh the benefits. Here are some of the disadvantages of nursing homes for seniors.
1. Nursing homes are expensive
According to the most recent “Cost of Care Survey,” an annual report published by life insurance company Genworth, nursing homes are the most expensive form of long-term care. In California, the average rate for a private room runs $307 per day, totaling more than $112,000 per year. If your loved one does not have plenty of retirement savings set aside to help cover the cost, a nursing home might simply not be an option your family can afford.
2. Nursing homes can be depressing
Uprooting a loved one from the familiarity and comfort of the only home they have known for years can cause depression. Aside from being a huge change, many seniors fear moving into a nursing home because they see it as a final step before the end of their life. This is usually true, since they typically do not return to their own home. Living in a nursing home can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, a primary cause of poor health among older adults. And for seniors with dementia, removing them from familiar surroundings has been shown to result in faster cognitive decline.
3. Loss of freedom and independence
Older adults are accustomed to their own routines and it can be hard for them to adjust to a new schedule in a nursing home. For example, they can no longer choose what they want to eat when they are hungry. Instead, they are served a set menu at specific times throughout the day. While a nursing home schedule might be beneficial to your loved one’s overall health, the loss of freedom and independence can cause them to lose self-esteem as they are no longer in control of their own life.
4. Proximity to family
Depending on where you live, there might not be a quality nursing home facility located close by. A long drive to visit on the weekends can take a toll on family members over time. Even if you are able to visit regularly, your loved one may still feel a lack of family presence, increasing feelings of loneliness and depression. Most nursing home staff do their best to build a sense of community among residents, but for seniors they’re still not family.
5. Potential for sub-quality care
We’ve all heard horror stories of poor treatment and neglect of nursing home residents. And, in fact, some reports show up to 90 percent of nursing homes are understaffed, which can cause poor supervision and increase the risk of accidents. However, most reputable nursing homes provide superior services and thoughtful care. It’s up to you to research facilities beforehand, and stay proactive in your loved one’s care to ensure they are receiving the proper attention.
If your loved one’s medical needs can no longer be met in a home environment, a nursing home can provide the necessary care to keep them safe. However, to remain at home, many seniors simply need help with daily activities such as bathing, preparing meals, light housekeeping, and transportation. Hiring home care services can allow your loved one to stay living in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible. Contact Family Matters In-Home Care for a free consultation to see how we can help support your family.