8 Nursing Home Myths Debunked
Nursing homes are friendly living places for older people who cannot live safely on their own. Nursing homes’ cold, dingy, and depressing environment has long been replaced with homely living facilities. You will find comfortable couches, curtains, and trimmed lawns that amplify the residents’ comfort.
But the reputation of nursing homes is still tainted by its dreary past. People still hesitate to go to or send their loved ones to nursing homes out of fear of abuse and other ways of mistreatment of residents. Below we have demystified some common myths about nursing homes.
People are abused in nursing homes
One of the biggest misapprehensions about nursing homes is that older people are mistreated. This is an antithesis of why nursing homes were developed in the first place. Nursing homes or long-term facilities are established so that older people can avoid the abuse they might otherwise face at the hands of overworked hospital staff.
Roughly 1.5 million older people live in nursing homes in the US. And approximately 1 million people live in assisted facilities. Taking care of elders with many physical, behavioral, or mental issues is not easy. Therefore, the possibility of nursing home neglect cannot be entirely discounted.
But considering it a standard to judge all facilities is not wise. Moreover, legal help in the form of nursing home abuse lawsuits and nursing home wrongful death claims is available. Litigation helps the victim and their family demand justice for any such abuse that might have happened.
People come to nursing homes with illnesses that require consistent monitoring. But it is not the case with all residents. People come to nursing homes for many reasons. Many disabled elders need help with walking or need assistance with day-to-day activities like bathing, combing, changing clothes, eating, laundry, and keeping their room in order.
Others come to nursing homes because they need assistance in taking their medication on time. Some others come with Alzheimer’s. The dedicated staff in nursing homes can help them. Nursing homes also accommodate residents who come to avoid the neglect caused at the hands of their loved ones. And finally, people also come to nursing homes to live among their peers and socialize at an age when their social interactions dwindle considerably.
Residents don’t get to have physical activity
Some think of nursing homes as a replica of hospitals where people are in their beds all day and cannot indulge in any physical activity. But in reality, nursing home residents live a pretty balanced, healthy, and active life. They engage in physical activity, including exercise, yoga, and meditation sessions.
Many nursing homes also plan outdoor activities for residents so they can enjoy the weather. Nursing home management also plans other fun activities and games for their residents. Often these elderly sit and eat, chit chat, laugh and spend time together.
Nursing home residents cannot leave the facility
A common misconception attached to nursing homes is that
f you get into a facility, you cannot leave it. But, in reality, the purpose of a care facility is to rehabilitate and treat ailing elders so they can return to their original environment in robust health if they choose to. Most nursing home stays are a temporary option for residents where they are provided proper care until their loved ones can make other arrangements. However, in reality, most people choose to stay in nursing homes in the long term to avoid becoming a burden on their loved ones while also enjoying their own independence and a sense of community.
The food in the nursing home is not good
You might be reluctant to go to a nursing home because of rumors of getting stale and monotonous food. But in reality, nursing communities provide variety to their residents, offering them a chance to eat the food of their liking. Although some nursing residents might be on a strict diet due to health conditions, most residents are served delicious and healthy meals.
Many nursing facilities also offer open dining in the facility. Residents can eat at the time of their liking. For instance, they can have breakfast from 6:30 am to 9:30 am, lunch from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, and dinner from 7:00 pm to 9: 30 pm.
Nursing homes smell bad
Another strange misconception about nursing homes is that they always smell bad. It can indicate one thing: the facility is not kept clean. You might even start to think that piles of garbage are left unattended, and washrooms and public use spaces are not well maintained. But the reality is quite different!
Nursing homes have dedicated teams of janitors and cleaning staff that keep the premises clean. Even if residents soil their beds due to uncontrolled bowel movements and loose bladder, the janitorial staff cleans the mess immediately.
Besides, residents often suffer from some kind of disease. And living in a dirty facility can invite a hoard of other diseases such as asthma, breathing problems, skin allergies, etc. Therefore, nursing homes excessively use cleaning products to disinfect the facility and keep the odors away. So, a fragrant nursing home is a sign that the facility is clean and the residents are well cared for.
Some people think that nursing homes are a replica of a mental asylum where people are given sedatives to keep calm. However, residents are given no such medicines until their prescription explicitly demands it. They are also informed about any side effects of the medication before it is provided to them.
Moreover, any drug or treatment given to the residents becomes a part of their record. So, the residents or their families can refuse any medications, and nothing is forced on the residents. The best way to be sure of drugs and their side effects is to communicate with the doctor and nursing home staff.
Nursing home costs are insurmountable
There is no refuting that living in a nursing home facility is expensive. Depending on the services you demand yourself or your loved one, the cost will change. But comparing the cost of similar services and care received in a hospital shows that living in a skilled nursing community is a wise option. You get to have a home-like environment, live with peers, and have 24/7 medical and professional care.
Nursing home facilities have been doing a tremendous job in accommodating the needs of the elderly. However, they are still considered dingy facilities of the past. The myths debunked in this article can help people make decisions about themselves or their loved ones.
Nursing homes are neither unsafe nor dirty, unkempt facilities. In fact, professionally trained staff and improved policies and procedures have done a lot to raise the health standards for the residents.