Nursing Homes for the Elderly

Making the decision that you or your loved one needs a bit of help isn’t an easy one. Today’s nursing homes are far different environments than they used to be – and that’s a good thing. They provide residents a higher quality of life and meet more of their needs. For many people, they can improve quality of life and even extend lifespans simply because they provide more one-on-one care that seniors need.

What Is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes are defined by the care they provide. They provide seniors with 24-hour care every day. These providers provide for most of the needs of the senior including daily living assistance, medical care, and overall monitoring of their health and wellbeing. Most often, they also provide for social needs of seniors with various programs. The key to choosing a nursing home is recognizing the importance of having access to medical care both for ongoing needs, such as medication management and for emergency situations.

Most often, individuals live in a single building with separate rooms for patients. Sometimes, patients share their room with another person. Many times, these locations can provide for a wide range of care, allowing for personalization of services provided. These locations are not just for those who are seniors, though. They can be used for anyone who needs round the clock care.

Today’s nursing homes are far more home-like than they used to be. Sometimes, individuals will even have their pets with them. Most often, they share meals with others in the location and enjoy activities both one-on-one with staff and within groups. The goal here is to ensure they are welcoming and as much like home as possible.

What Type of Care Does a Nursing Home Provide?

Nursing homes are designed to meet the individual needs of the patient. That is why they typically provide extensive care to meet the needs of that individual. In a nursing home setting, residents may be recovering from illness or injury, or they may have long-term care needs. They are not able to manage their overall care. These locations can help with the services the individual needs such as:

  • Medication management
  • Memory therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy
  • Medical management
  • Social activities
  • Cooked meals
  • Daily activity support including bathing and dressing
  • Housekeeping services

Both semi-private and private rooms are available at most locations. The size and amenities on location range widely from one location to the next, though.

How to Choose the Best Nursing Home for Your Needs

Finding the best overall nursing home for an individual means considering many individual factors. For example, the type of care the patient needs is a key factor. Many times, people will enter these locations after being discharged from a hospital setting. In that situation, he or she may have progressive changes to their care needs – some locations can better meet these goals. Others are looking for a long-term support service.

Most important, though, is for individuals to carefully consider the location and what it offers independently before making a decision on which location is best. Here are a few key things to consider when choosing any type of nursing home.

Quality of Life at a Nursing Home

The quality of life varies from one location to the next. Consider things like the cleanliness of the location, the amount of versatility in activities, and whether or not a pet can be kept. Is transportation provided? What types of religious and cultural activities are available? What about food? Is the location comfortable overall? Learn what life is like at the location.

Quality of Care at a Nursing Home

The next concern has to do with the quality of the care provided. This is key – as nursing homes do provide medical assistance to residents. Nursing homes must be certified by Medicare or Medicaid on a range of 150 different requirements. This is a good starting point for determining the quality of care provided. Additionally, view inspection reports to learn about areas of concern for current residents.

Staffing Needs at a Nursing Home

Staffing is an important topic. Nursing homes have to be fully staffed in order to provide the highest quality of care to residents. To do so, that generally means having at least one Registered Nursing available every day for at least eight hours. In addition to this, there is generally at least one LPN on staff to handle needs 24 hours a day. Consider staffing levels as well as concerns with how long it takes for seniors to get care. As you look around, notice how the staff interacts with residents – do they knock before entering, know the individual by name, and treat them well?

How Much Does a Nursing Home Cost?

Nursing home costs depend greatly on the types of services provided by the location. Typically, a nursing home will provide a higher level of care than most other types of senior centers, which can mean they cost more than other locations. However, they typically offer better and much-needed care. According to a study from GenWorth, a semi-private room in a Medicare-certified nursing home in 2016 cost $6,850 while a private room cost $7,700 per month. This figure is very relative, though. Different locations play a role in cost.

It is expected that care and rent costs for nursing homes will continue to rise over the next decade. In some cases, residents are already paying $10,000 or more for care. It is important to consider the value of that care when choosing a location as well as determining costs.

Should I Choose a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Community?

Many people worry that they cannot afford a nursing home setting and then decide they may not need it due to cost. That’s not a good decision to make. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are very different. In an assisted living community, it is unlikely that the resident will receive any type of medical support or therapy needs. These locations provide assistance in areas of housekeeping, personal hygiene, and food prep. They do not provide for medical needs or provide for 24-hour medical assistance. Nursing homes do provide this.

How Can I Pay for a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes provide medical care – in most cases. As a result, Medicare and Medicaid can provide some financial support to individuals who need these locations. If a doctor has stated a nursing home is the ideal choice for a person, then that coverage is likely in place. Most health insurance plans in place for seniors or those who are recovering from an illness or disease also provide for care associated with nursing homes. For others, private pay is another option for covering the costs of nursing homes.

Are There Nursing Homes Near Me?

Nearly all areas have several nursing homes available to seniors and those who may be recovering from illness or injury. Nursing homes are often easy to find within communities, but doctors, hospitals, and senior centers can provide some assistance in finding a location that may fit a specific need. Additionally, Medicare and Medicaid recipients may also be able to turn to these locations or their health insurance policy to find the ideal nursing home for their specific needs. Compare numerous locations before making a decision on a single provider.

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