One of the biggest problems in the world today is the increasing population of the elderly. Adding the fuel to fire is the fact that majority of these elderly citizens have family members that are busy working or are out for a majority of their daily lives carrying out unavoidable responsibilities. To help combat this problem, many agencies and companies have been setting up caregiving services to improve the quality of life for the elderly but unfortunately manpower is only limited to an extent for these services. However though, some families eventually go through all the alternatives of caregiving and eventually opt for nursing homes for their elderly loved one due to unavoidable circumstances. As mentioned in previous blog posts, a nursing home is a residential area set up with facilities along with a live-in professional medical personnel that assists the elderly and keeps them in check around the clock. While having your elderly loved one stay in a nursing home is not a poor choice entirely, the stigma of ‘bad’ nursing homes as a result of poor service and care can be daunting at times. One rotten apple need not necessary spoil the whole bunch. Instead, let’s try to learn how to be more perceptive of good quality nursing homes out there for the benefits of all.
How are the staff like at the nursing home?
There should be a sufficient number of professionals from physicians to registered nurses working there to cater to the hourly care and needs of the elderly. This helps to aid the elderly should there be any emergency that can be treated at the nursing home instead of rushing them to the nearest hospital’s emergency room. This will help reduce the number of cases in the emergency room to allow other patients to be tended to as well as to reduce the financial burden of the family of the elderly who is charged with high medical bills. Ask the nursing home’s staff whether they do a lot of overtime or double shifts as this may be an indirect sign that the home is lacked of staff. While some people perceive this as a minor issue as some people think they can multitask well, the staff there might unknowingly be overstressed and may indirectly reduce the quality of service provided. Interaction between the staff members should also be observed to ensure they are communicating well at all times and maintaining a peaceful environment for the home.
Does the nursing home look or feel safe?
As mentioned in previous blog posts, even your own home isn’t safe from hazards that may injure your elderly loved one. Therefore, a nursing home should take a bigger initiative to ensure a safe and hazard-free environment as they are housing a larger number of elderly citizens at one time. If given a choice to visit the nursing home, a tour should be done for personal observation to ensure the home is in a safe condition for your elderly loved one to live in. Besides the obvious conditions of the house layout, you should also use your other senses to assess the home’s condition. Does the home smell clean or is there any presence of bad odour that is unexplainable and prolonged? Are the meals appealing and palatable for the senior citizens there? Do you hear any weird sounds or dissatisfied grunts from staff or elderly citizens in the home? All this will eventually contribute to the quality of life your elderly loved one will have in the home during their stay.
What kind of activities do they offer for the elderly?
Majority of the time people expect nursing homes to offer physical and mentally stimulating activities for the elderly. This is mostly due to the fact that they are able to meet new friends at the nursing home therefore allowing them to do group activities that they never could do alone at home before such as playing mahjong, sharing stories and many more. In addition to that, they do not have to worry or wait for their friends who probably don’t live as close to their home and need transport from their family member to visit and do activities together. A good quality nursing home should have several activities planned out along with a few events every month at least to allow some form of entertainment for the elderly on a weekly basis. It might sound a little bit much but when you think about it not one activity will fit all the interests of the elderly in the home. Some may be very good at some of them, some may just want to learn how to do these activities while others may be bedridden and need other activities that can cater to their circumstances. When you really think about it, isn’t it quite redundant to put your elderly loved one in a nursing home just for them to act and behave like how they were cooped up back at their own home?
Can your elderly loved one and their family make choices?
Just like any other institutions or homes, there are certain rules and regulations your loved one may need to abide to ensure the peace and safety of the home. However, do note that the residents of the nursing home are elderly citizens who are technically just aged adults and not children. They should not be treated like small kids in a nursery and instead should have some form of respect or privacy given to them. With that being said, they should be allowed to make their own simples choices like their sleeping and wake up times, their choice of meal for the day or where do they want to have their meals. The nursing home should also be accomodating and offer flexible extended visiting hours if needed. For example, some elderly citizens may not be used to their first few nights at the nursing home and may want their family members to accompany them longer until late evening or night. Another example would be that some patients are sent to nursing homes to recover after surgery therefore some family members may want to stay overnight for a night or two with them to observe their recovery progress as well as to provide indirect moral support.