You may think that living in a nursing home means a life of boredom, isolation, and feeling like the only person your own age, but if you know the right questions to ask before signing up, you might find that it’s worth considering.
This post explores some common myths about nursing homes, debunks them with hard facts, and shows you what to ask before deciding on where to live in your senior years.
Myth 1: Nursing homes are for the very sick and have a short life expectancy.
You might think that nursing homes are only for very sick people with a short time to live, or at least, those with poor physical health. In fact, the opposite is true. The typical resident is an 86-year-old woman with good mental health who has survived breast cancer and lives independently at home but requires some assistance to do so.
Myth 2: Nursing homes are dirty and unsanitary places.
This is yet another myth that just isn’t true. Nursing homes are required by law to maintain a certain level of cleanliness and are inspected regularly to make sure they do so. In fact, a whole industry surrounds nursing homes to deliver high-quality equipment. For example, medical-supermarket.com has supplied nursing homes since 2011.
Myth 3: Nursing homes are too expensive for most families to afford.
You might think that the costs of most nursing homes if you had no other option, would be out of reach for most families. However, costs, on average, are about the same as what you’d pay to rent a similarly sized one-bedroom apartment in a nearby town.
Myth 4: The staff is mostly untrained and uninterested in residents.
You might think that the nursing staff is uninterested in much of anything besides the residents who are assigned to them, but nurses and aides are trained professionals whose goal is to care for patients, not just fill out a check sheet. Just like their emergency room counterparts, they spend their time giving information and helping with basic needs—such as bathing and dressing—as well as more complex activities, such as preparing meals on wheels or giving insulin injections.
Myth 5: Most residents are there because they lost their families or were abandoned.
In fact, the majority of residents in nursing homes have family members who visit them regularly. They may not be able to take care of them at home anymore, but they maintain a close relationship with them and see them regularly.
Myth 6: Nursing home residents are uncomfortable being in the same home with people who are terminally ill.
If you think that the presence of a terminally ill person might be hard on a non-terminal resident, you’d be wrong. In fact, most elderly patients living in a nursing home have said that their presence made them feel more comfortable because they knew there was someone else in the same boat as them.
Myth 7: Staff members are verbally or physically abusive to residents.
Nursing home staff members have a very clear understanding of the proper use of force when caring for patients, but only rarely is it necessary. Furthermore, if such incidents occur, the nurse or aide responsible will be disciplined accordingly and may even face criminal charges.
To sum up, there are many myths about nursing homes. While they are very real and very important to their residents, the reality is that if you take the time to ask questions before signing up, it could be a place with many happy memories