Why Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Are Good Places to Live
Families often struggle to honor their parents’ wishes; to help mom and dad stay at home as long as possible. But oftentimes, moving into a more structured environment creates a step up in quality of life for seniors. While people may feel reluctant to leave their homes for a nursing or assisted living facility (“ALF”), seniors in these settings are often happier, healthier, more functional, more socially active, and live longer than those who continue to stay in their homes.
These facilities are professional at caring for seniors and provide a valuable spectrum of services, including:
- Structure in daily routine and care.
- Experience in caring for the elderly, especially those who may be frail or unwell.
- Employees who feel a special calling to work with older people; they are dedicated to their work and the residents.
- Natural opportunities for social interaction, activities, and recreation.
- Healthy, nutritious food.
- An extra set of eyes watching to be sure medications are administered appropriately and are having the intended effect.
- Rehabilitation and therapy services readily available to those who need them.
There has recently been a movement around “culture change“ and “resident-centered care” aimed at making nursing homes and ALFs a more desirable place to live. This philosophy puts the needs and desires of the resident first and foremost and gives them more control over their lives, so they can live more like they do at home—with more freedom and appropriate independence, making more of their own lifestyle choices. For example, residents may choose to:
- Say up late or sleep in late without being disturbed
- Take the nutritional supplements they desire
- Choose their own clothing
- Close the door for privacy
If you are confronting the important decision about whether to move to a nursing home or ALF, don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. Inquire about culture and attitudes. And remember that most facilities offer a good, supportive alternative to living alone at home.
Mike Wasserman, MD, is a co-founder of Senior Care of Colorado, PC, a primary care medical group serving the needs of older adults throughout the Denver Metro region. For information or to schedule an appointment, call 303-306-4321.