Nursing homes, commonly referred to as long term care facilities, or skilled nursing centers, often make the headlines for negative occurrences. There is no denying the negative stigma that is associated with a nursing home, especially for the elderly population today. All nursing homes are not created equally, that is for certain. It is up to the families of the loved one who has to be placed, to do the research and look into many different homes to assure the best placement possible.
There are risks associated with aging. As we age, it is more likely that we will lose a lot of loved ones, we become more reclusive because we aren’t as balanced in our walking, or because our mind isn’t working quite the way we know it should be. As our body gets weaker, we demand more care. Many times the care comes from adult children who have full time jobs and are raising a family. As we all know, caring for anyone doesn’t come without mental or physical exhaustion. Taking on an elderly parent who is clearly progressing towards being dependent can become overwhelming and can very well put a strain on a marriage, whether or not your loved one is living under the same roof with you.
Eventually, the human deterioration may require nursing home care. Although there are feelings of guilt about this decision, it isn’t always a bad decision. Nursing homes can provide an environment that is accommodating to your loved one. Many of the employees are caring and compassionate and want to see their “resident” thrive.
Although one of the main complaints at a nursing home is regularly the food, there are a lot of things to be considered here. Many times, the elderly resort to TV dinners when living at home. Sometimes, there is speculation on when the last meal was even eaten. If there are memory lapses, then it can very well become a guessing game as to what kind of nourishment your loved one is receiving. At a nursing home, three nutritious meals and three snacks are provided daily. It is calorie dense, so that any bite provides nourishment. There are also a variety of desserts served daily. It is probably something not served everyday at home, so this might be a bonus for those who enjoy this part of the meal.
The food is complained about because everyone cooks differently, and has different tastes. It isn’t going to be the way grandmother cooked it, because everyone knows, “nobody cooks better than grandma!” Often times there is two choices for a meal on the menu. Even when nothing looks appetizing, there is yet another option. There are alternate choices always on hand for when things just aren’t appealing. Perhaps a sandwich, or cold cuts or cottage cheese, or soup. If your loved one is picky or is only eating one thing always, a good dietary department will have those requests on hand for that person regularly. If you know your loved one really enjoys a particular food, you are also allowed to bring in meals for them. The key here is knowing that alternates do exist, and are there for the pleasure of the diner.
As mentioned, when one ages, it is quite possible to become withdrawn. Who wants to venture out to a restaurant alone? An invitation to a party sounds nice, but how are they going to get there? They may want to cook an elaborate meal or dessert, but taking the time to go to the store, and then cooking, and cleaning up, gets tiresome. Then, who is going to eat it? If the memory is faltering, has the oven been turned on correctly, or turned off when finished? Although they have loved pets in the past, becoming older can make a pet a burden. So, a pet companion may very well become a nuisance. In an elderly person’s world, the TV may become their only source of enjoyment.
In a nursing home there is a wide variety of activities to partake in. The activity department is responsible for creating a calendar and activities to enhance the enjoyment of the resident’s stay. There awaits a social world full of things to do for a nursing home resident.. There are friendships to be made, stories to tell, memories to make. Outings to restaurants, or plays, or places of interest. There is live entertainment, get togethers for sing-a-longs, and games and exercise programs to keep the brain and body at optimum level. There are cooking groups, and facility pets where the clean-up is left up to the staff. And when one is feeling a little tired and can’t quite make it down the hall, “free rides” to and from the location is always available. Most places also have a beauty shop on the premises.
Another reason for considering nursing home care is that staff is there around the clock. Your loved one is reminded to take their medications, is brought to meals, or it is brought to them. They receive assistance with their personal care. The room is tended to by housekeeping, as is their laundry. The resident is observed daily for changes in demeanor or behavior, intake of food and liquids, and elimination. These items give the family “peace of mind” at where there loved one is around the clock. If there are elopement risks, a system is put into place for the individual. There are also doctors who visit regularly to see their patients, and if a check-up is needed off-site, transportation is arranged by nursing home staff.
Although there are other departments and attributes to a nursing home, the items mentioned are regular concerns to family and residents alike. As you can see, all nursing homes are not the horror stories read about in the papers. Once you get out there and do your own research and observations on nursing homes, your search will likely lead you to a positive and engaging atmosphere. While it isn’t an easy journey, the outcome can be a rewarding one.