Long-term care is on everyone’s minds these days as the shakiness of Social Security benefits is all over the news. The number of seniors living in long-term care facilities is on the decline. A whopping 1.5 million people lived in U.S nursing homes in 2004 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, if the report in a 2007 edition of USA Today still holds true, that number is dropping.
Based on Census data, the report stated that between 1990 and 2006, the percentage of nursing home residents ages 75 and up declined from 10.2 to 7.4. The downturn is the result of in-home care and assisted-living communities replacing traditional nursing homes. Compared to nursing homes, both alternatives better enable seniors to retain their customary lifestyles.
Nevertheless, there will probably always be a need for nursing homes in one form or another, and you or one of your loved ones might live in one at some point. It’s useful to know how to pick a good one.
In a study published in 2009, researchers used information gathered from a collection of previous studies to compare for-profit to non-profit homes. The new study’s purpose was to see which of the two types of facilities offered the best care. The researchers concluded that their study lacked sufficient information to be definitive but it nonetheless suggested non-profit nursing homes were better than their for-profit counterparts were.
Based on the study’s findings, when seeking nursing home care, in addition to going the non-profit route, you should consider these criteria:
How qualified is the staff?
You want staff members that are not only friendly, but also highly trained in nursing home care.
Are patients free of bedsores?
If they aren’t, assume the staff is failing when it comes to frequently turning and otherwise tending to those in their care.
Do you see evidence of physical restraints?
In general, there is no need to keep people who should be enjoying their golden years on lock down. Walk, don’t run, if it seems nursing home staff have a thing for constraining people they are hired to serve.
In addition, if your elderly loved one is currently in a nursing home, be on the look out for signs of depression. The condition could be caused by problems inside the facility or be the result of other factors. In any case, depression among U.S. seniors, although widespread, is treatable with proper medical attention.