Daily fitness regimens, nutritious home-cooked meals, and social support. As a loved one ages, decisions have to be made that impact their living situations. While many elders want to maintain a sense of independence by living at home, there are studies that show that living in a nursing facility might actually fare better for your parent or older loved one. Here we have compiled the top five reasons why living in an elder care facility trumps living alone.
- Social Activities and Organized Events – What can we say? Our lives are filled with opportunities to engage with people. Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store, depositing a check, or attending a local fitness class, we are around people for the majority of our lives. As we age, our ability to drive as well as our overall energy levels for activities we used to participate in may be impacted. This inability or fear to drive as well as our lessened energy levels or other changes due to aging can cause isolation. Isolation leads to loneliness and, at times, depression. Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness can actually be detrimental to one’s health, increasing problems as one ages. Living in a nursing home provides a myriad of opportunities for socialization for the elder. There are often common rooms for seniors where games can be played, interests can be shared, and conversations can be had at any time. Most senior centers have organized group trips off-site or bring in entertainment for their residents. There is not a day that goes by where a resident would not be able to engage in an activity or visit with a fellow elder. The result is that the overall well-being of a senior is improved. Active and social elders are inspired to get involved with others, thus generating wellness, greater happiness, and resultingly an overall improved quality of life.
- Finances Become Easier to Manage – As we age, it is often overwhelming to maintain the cost of living associated with home maintenance, utilities, and other bills, especially when reliant upon a fixed income. When a person chooses to live in a nursing facility, the bills are lumped into one monthly payment. Additionally, the added expense of the upkeep of a home is not present in a nursing home. No plumbing concerns, internet outages to worry about, as well as mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, or other tasks required in home ownership, that can often quite troubling. A loved one can be perplexed by doing this alone or with the added stresses of making ends meet when a repair is needed. The nursing facility is able to cover all of these concerns, as they are all included in the monthly payment.
3. Ease of Appropriate Medical Attention – Another potential stressor when one ages is often complicated medical situations. Keeping up with medication can be tricky and ensuring your loved one is taking their medication as prescribed is important. Pills must be taken at certain times, with or without food, and certain medications cannot be mixed with vitamins, etc. Attempting to track this, especially when one lives far away, is risky for everyone involved. Prescriptions are monitored in a skilled nursing facility by trained professionals, ensuring that your family member is taking their medication in the correct dose and at the correct time. Having this attention also ensures that should adjustments in medications arise, someone is available to help, quickly. Overall, the result is a safe environment for your loved one—keeping health concerns mitigated.
4. Nutrition Monitored – One of the biggest risks with aging parents is the lack of nutrition. Adults over the age of 65, as well as those who have been released from the hospital or who have chronic illnesses, are at risk for malnutrition or poor nutrition. This delicate balance is tricky for someone to maintain alone, especially if the person is older and dealing with illness. Lean body mass and bone density reduce as we age and having access to nutrient-dense foods keeps unnecessary deterioration and illnesses at bay. All the while, a healthy diet can contribute to an elder maintaining stronger bone density, brain function, and restful sleep patterns. Having to prepare meals for oneself can be tedious and time consuming, as can the very process of grocery shopping. In a group nursing facility, meals are covered. Three nutritious meals a day shared with co-residents provide the nutrients that your loved one needs, stress-free. Customizable meal plans are available also when your loved one requires extra healing and specific dietary recommendations.
5. Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) – Living alone is difficult whether you are an aging adult, or a recent college graduate. Research shows that when someone lives alone, they are required to make 70% more money than a couple, as well as maintain a home without assistance. The sharing of a home improves finances, well-being, and provides assistance with activities of daily living, or ADLs. When you have a partner in life, whether in a group setting or as a couple, it makes life more fun. One person can help when another is feeling down. One person can be encouraging to make positive choices to help the other out. In nursing facilities, an elder is never far from a trained professional who can help with ADLs. From simple tasks of making coffee and breakfast to staying freshly bathed, there are many tasks that shift in ease when one ages. Mobility can become difficult and the very things we used to take for granted change as we age. Sometimes, getting out of bed is an accomplishment. These ADLs are monitored in a skilled nursing facility to ensure that the resident does not stay in bed for too long, gets teeth brushed, and has a bath. Most often, these tasks are performed, again, by people who are trained to provide assistance.
Living in A Skilled Nursing Facility Trumps Living Alone
As we age, our needs shift. Sometimes, the choice to live in a skilled nursing facility can be frightening. The unknowns seem to be bigger than the knowns. However, simply from these five reasons, you can see why living with support as you or your loved one ages offers the soundest environment for everyone. If you live in another city or are located away from your loved one, you can rest assured knowing that your elder is taken care of 24/7.
At Jefferson Park at Dandridge, we offer compassionate care for your loved one. We pride ourselves on our work and having been in the business for 50 years can offer solace to you. We have onsite nutritional meals, physical and occupational therapists on-site that work with residents regularly, as well as basic ADLs provided for each resident. All of this while fostered in an environment with activities to encourage socializing among residents in a community designed around compassionate care. If you are considering skilled nursing care for yourself or a loved one, or want to ask more questions, we would love to help. Reach out online or via phone at 865-397-3163.