A clean, well-maintained, and safe facility are important factors to consider when selecting a nursing home. But there is another equally important factor. The opportunity to engage with others is just as important. Here are some reasons why.
Few people want to place a family member or friend in a nursing home. Many families feel a nursing home move is a last recourse. This does not need to be the case. Some people actually thrive when they enter a nursing home. Part of the reason could be because they receive more intensive care, but another reason could be they are finally reconnecting with people.
Hi, I’m Joanna Leefer, your senior care advisor/advocate. I help families make the best care choice for an elderly loved one who can no longer live independently. That choice might be home care, nursing home care, independent living, assisted living or another option. The decision depends on your loved one’s distinct needs. I can help you select the right service and insure your loved one receives optimum care.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been touring nursing homes with my husband Paul. We are looking for the right facility for his 96- (soon to be 97-) year-old mother, Lillian who is currently living at home.
I am recording my impressions so you can understand how to judge a nursing home if faced with this task.
Today we are completing a tour of a well-respected nursing facility in mid-town Manhattan. Paul and I are impressed with how clean the facility is and how well groomed the residents look. The aides are considerate, no one appears to be in pain and the facility has the reputation for good care. These are important factors in selecting a facility. I’ve discussed the pro and cons of this facility in more depth in my earlier entries. To read them click here.
I’m not going to keep you in suspense about our decision….we decided against this residence.
The answer is yes, but this residence is missing an equally important factor–social interaction.
Everyone in this nursing home appears to be alone. We do not see many residents as we tour the floors and the few we do see, do not seem engaged in anything. When we look into a performance in the activity room, only a third of the residents are attending. We look into a lounge-pub promoted in the facility brochure as “the place to meet and mingle” but only two people are visible. The dining room is similarly underused; few residents eat here, they prefer to eat on their respective floors.
Many nursing homes are attempting to convert resident floors into small communities where occupants can interact in a more intimate setting. I hoped this was the case here. Unfortunately, we didn’t see this. As we enter one floor, we see well-dressed residents sitting in their rooms or sitting quietly in wheelchairs in the hall. A few are sitting in an activity room, but no activities are taking place except for a TV show. Even the attendants look bored.
The floor dining room is equally dreary. The room include a small refrigerator and a few dining tables pushed together. Nothing else. No pictures. No notices. No adornments. This facility lacks human warmth.
We would never consider placing Lillian in such a secluded environment. Paul and I are looking for a place that will will offer Lillian more stimulus. She spends too much time alone in her apartment sitting in front of her TV and talking to the photos of her deceased siblings. We think this isolation is part of the reason for her mental decline. This facility will not offer her more stimulation.
A nursing home is called a home for a reason. It i should offer emotional comfort as well as providing medical assistance. This facility is nicely furnished and there no serious complaints about the care. But this facility is isolating and leaves its residents without some thing all people need–human interaction.
My next entry will step away from nursing homes and concentrate on what can be done for family members or friends who do not want to leave home. Some exciting new developments are now available.
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