One of the most difficult decisions in your life is to put your loved one in a nursing home or a residential home. It might be a big emotional time in your life, but if you have the right plan, advice, and needed information, you will find it less stressful and much easier. In this article, we will answer some of your questions about putting an elderly family member in a nursing home or a care home, and you will find out the main differences between these two assisted living facilities.
You may also ask yourself when is the right time to put an elderly in a nursing home, so we will give you some advice and all the needed information before making this important decision.
When Should You Put Someone In A Care Home?
Sometimes, caring for a family member can be a full-time job that is all-consuming and too big a burden to bear, and you may need to decide to put him in a nursing home or in a care home. This decision is a big step in your life, and it is usually taken when all other options you have are exhausted or are not convenient. When you find that the nursing home or care has more benefits for your loved one than all other available options, then it is the right choice to make.
You may consider moving your loved one to a nursing home if:
- You may notice that your loved one has problems with everyday tasks like eating properly, cleaning, washing, and dressing.
- Your loved one is often disoriented and confused and has problems with mobility and memory loss.
- He or she has recently increased the number of falls, had some injuries, and you are scared about their security.
- Your loved one has problems looking after themselves and is not able to live alone, although other family members or friends support them.
- You are no longer able to provide the needed care, you are exhausted, and your health is declining, and you have problems with your personal relationships.
- Your loved one is diagnosed with dementia.
- Your home is harder to be maintained, and it is a mess.
- Your loved one tried to avoid taking their medications and did not inform you and their doctors.
However, aging is different for every individual and if it is hard for an elder member of your family to accept it, do not take this step. He or she will finally realize by himself/herself that the needed support and care are only available in such a community.
What Is The Average Age Of A Person In A Care Home?
Almost half of the adults who reside in care homes are aged 85 or older. (1)
However, people aged 65 have a 70 % of chances to get a long – term care in the future, and it is very rare for someone younger than 65 to reside in a nursing home.
According to statistics, in the United States, around 8.3 million elderly Americans received some form of long–term service in a facility. (2)
In these facilities, the cases and deaths caused by Covid prevailed and most of the Covid related deaths occurred in nursing homes in 5 states New Hampshire (66%), Rhode Island (61%), Minnesota (59%), North Dakota (58%), and Connecticut (53%).
The median survival rate in a nursing home is 2, 2 years, and around 800.000 Americans reside in nursing homes, according to the statistics.
What Are The Five Things You Must Consider When You Take Care Of An Elderly?
If you take care of an older adult, it might be a challenging task, and you need the following pieces of advice to help them live more comfortably and help them to become more independent:
1. Be always aware of the mental and physical care of the person you take care of
You should be always aware of the mental and physical care of the person you take care of, especially their mental health, as older adults usually have cognitive and depression problems. You should be capable of picking up the signs that alert you that the person is not doing well. When it comes to physical care, you should always ensure that the person you take care of makes some exercise regularly to boost their immunity and prevention from various ailments. They should also be socially active as much as possible.
2. Respect the individuality and privacy of the elderly people
Older adults are ordinary people, just all of us and they are no different life rules for them. Of course, you must be aware that life is not easy for them, and they often feel lonely and bored, but they still have their preferences, likes and dislikes, and different personalities.
When having personal conversations, you should make a line that shouldn’t be crossed and do not conversate about personal family disputes, personal matters, and sometimes their health issues.
3. Leave them to do things they can by themselves
If an elderly is capable of doing something on his or her own, let him or her do it and don’t try to help them.
4. You should report neglect
Unfortunately, there are many cases when the elderly are neglected and abused. So, the person who is responsible for these issues should be informed accordingly.
5. Caretaker stress
Always be careful about your own health. Working as an elderly caretaker might be stressful responsible work, and overwhelming work that can harm your health, so be mindful and see how your body reacts and if there are any signs of health issues.
What Else Should You Consider When Taking Care Of An Elderly Person At Home?
If you take care of an elderly at home, you should consider the following factors:
1. Install non–skin pads in the bathrooms
Older adults have mobility problems, so you prepare your bathroom according to their needs and:
- Put non–skin pads to prevent them from falling
- Unplug all the electrical appliances
- Keep them away from any water sources
2. Inspect the security of your home
Falls are one of the major concerns for the elderly, and according to the statistics of o the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cause of death for 32,000 Americans per year. (3)
Older houses present more risks, and you should consider adding grab bars or widening your doorway. You can also install some additional lightning, change the floors if they have bumps, redo your kitchen, and make other associated modifications. Of course, you can always hire a certified builder who knows about the challenges, and risks older adults face regularly.
3. You can employ a certified caregiver to take care of your loved one
In case you or the other family members are unable to take care of your elderly parent, you should consider employing a skilled and experienced professional caregiver in personal care and assisting in your daily activities.
The professional caregivers can also assist you with housekeeping and other small chores around the house.
4. Enable social inclusion
If you isolate them, it will cause additional distress, so try to include your older family members in the community and the family as much as you can. You can also find many activities if you search online to engage them.
5. Find out a way to get an elderly medical expense deduction
Medical expense deductions are a great aid for people who had some medical expenses for their loved ones or paid to other living communities who assisted them. If your elderly parent had some medical treatment at home, you might be eligible for medical expenses deduction.
You can also get medical expense deductions if you have employed a professional caregiver at home or if your loved one is in a nursing home, and you had to pay for long–term care. (4)
6. Sometimes you may need the help of an elderly law attorney
Elder Law is a specialty in the legal profession that appeared out of need as the number of older adults increased along with the increased average life span.
The Elderly law attorney may help you with different issues that come out because of old age and as you enter the retirement age, you may face different problems such as:
- Elderly abuse and cases of recovery fraud
- Claims and appeals for social security, Medicare, and disability
- Administration of the estates and estate planning
- All types of financial documents, including trusts and wills
- Assets are transferred when a spouse enters a nursing home to avoid impoverishing the other one
- Placement in a nursing home on long-term
- Additional insurance and all appeals and claims related to the insurance
- Guardianship and appointment of a legal guardian
- Get legal advice from health law and mental health law (5)
If you are unsure whether to employ an elderly law attorney, you may consult another legal professional who may help you decide whether you need one. You may ask the local agencies for help or other friends or family members for attorney referrals. You can always visit The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) website, which holds a search directory of all certified elderly law attorneys.
7. Find some government benefice programs and educate yourself
You can visit many organizations and government programs that will help you and support you if you are a senior.
You can visit the Government website https://www.benefits.gov/ to look for some official benefits from the Government that cover thousands of different programs concerning different issues like health, disability, and others.
8. Search for additional benefits and programs from The National Council Of Aging
National Council of Aging is the biggest web service offering thorough research of all benefit programs for older adults with low income. The programs may include legal and financial assistance, housing, healthcare, prescribed drugs, etc.…
9. Area Agency On Aging
This organization represents the national network of Area Agency On Aging and has helped senior citizens to have a quality life and live more independently and with dignity since 1988. You can also consult their professionals about the programs and necessary documents, and you will find out whether your elderly parent is eligible to use them.
10. Stay up to date with the latest technology
Find out about all the possibilities that the new technology offers to improve the everyday life of your loved one. For example, some monitoring systems can be linked to the care network to monitor the patient or a social robot for elderly patients.
3 Values You Should Consider For Elderly Care
People who work in nursing homes know the importance of 3 important values that shape their ethics. They know that they should always be compassionate about the people they look after, so if you are a caregiver, keep these things in mind:
1. Be patient, comprehensive, and listen to what they have to say
Having in mind that taking care of the elderly is a challenging task because they can be mentally and physically ill, and sometimes they can not understand what you are asking them, you should be patient and not get annoyed. Also, when they speak, do not pay too much attention to what they say as they may not always know your situation.
2. Be an individual with integrity and treat people with dignity.
When you take care of an elderly, you should always keep your word, no matter the situation, and act properly, although it is not convenient for you. In addition, treat all of your patience with dignity and do not blame them for their actions because they didn’t do it purposely.
3. Be compassionate and provide competent care.
As a caregiver, you should act with love, not as a sense of duty, and take time to listen and advocate for your patient’s actions. Do some additional research about caregiving, accompany him or her to their appointments, and sometimes take some time together to laugh at some funny situations.
When you are compassionate, you always notice your patient’s needs and respond timely to them.
What Is The Difference Between A Care Home And A Nursing Home?
When you decide to put your loved one in residential care, you might ask yourself what the difference between a nursing home and a care home is.
When people speak about a care home, it usually refers to a residence that provides care 24 hours a day, but it doesn’t offer medical care, just personal care, and some physical activities to keep the patients engaged. It can also help its residents with everyday tasks and administering some medications.
The residents of all care homes may have a certain disability like a learning or physical one or have problems with mobility, but they shouldn’t need constant medical care.
A nursing home, on the other hand, provides a 24 hours daycare, but registered nurses provide this care, and they are usually supported by assistants. In addition, the patients in the nursing homes may require additional care, such as administering intravenous medications and care of wounds, so in short, it provides a higher level of patient care.
Sometimes, they may differ and may be specialized for specific health conditions like cancers, mental or physical disabilities, and even severe physical disabilities.
In return, they are more expensive than the residential care homes.
Ana Miller is a creative writer. Her topics of interest and expertise range from psychology to all sorts of disciplines such as science and news.