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Nursing Homes: An Overview

By HERWriter
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What is a Nursing Home?

According to the National Nursing Home Survey (2004) there were over 16,000 nursing homes in the United States providing care for 1.5 million residents, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the population.

A nursing home provides care for people who don’t need to be hospitalized, but can’t be cared for at home anymore. The staff in a nursing home provides medical care, physical, speech and occupational therapy.

Although nursing homes are often associated with elderly care, they are available to anyone who requires 24-hour care.

A nursing home can be a hospital-like environment or a home-like environment. Which one is available or best for you or your loved one depends on your location, what kind of care is needed, and what you can afford.

Signs It’s time for a Nursing Home

It’s never pleasant to realize your loved one is struggling to manage everyday things that were once done so easily, but sometimes a decision needs to be made to keep everyone healthy and safe.

If your loved one is showing any of these behaviors or inabilities, it may be time to consider a nursing home living arrangement:

• Can no longer use a telephone
• Cannot shop without assistance or not at all
• Cannot maintain an adequate diet and meals need to be provided and served
• Cannot participate in ordinary housekeeping activities
• Cannot travel any longer by him/herself
• Cannot dispense/manage medications
• Cannot handle money or make ordinary purchases

If your loved one is struggling with the majority of these tasks, a move to a nursing home environment may be a good idea.

Benefits of Nursing Homes

Some of the obvious benefits of nursing home care are:

• 24-hour nursing care,
• Assistance with daily tasks (e.g., housekeeping)
• Food and dietary services
• Access to resources and activities

One benefit that’s often forgotten about is the need for socialization. As seniors become more isolated from their community, it is easy for depression and loneliness to set in.

“[A] nursing facility provides seniors with a built-in social network of their peers.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.