What It’s Really Like To Live In A Care Home

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By Nisha Sharma

seniorcitizenMany older Americans are opting for assisted living facilities that provide a number of different levels of care, as the need arises. Though many people find these care homes a good solution, others may find it difficult to adjust to an institutionalized setting. In addition, the quality can vary widely from facility to facility. Experts advise that you talk to residents about the quality of care and other features of the care home.

Types of Services
Care facilities can offer a broad range of services, including all daily meals, housekeeping, laundry services, help with grooming, dressing and medical monitoring. In addition, some facilities may offer care for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, which requires more intensive interaction and supervision. Most frequently, help with these daily chores helps the resident to feel safe and secure. However, when facilities reduce staffing to save money, it can leave residents feeling without proper support, especially with the physical assistance that can be critical to them. People researching care homes, as well as family members, should pay attention to the particular needs of the individual to ensure that the facility is set up to provide the services they need.

Living Space
livingroomThe resident’s living space is often one of the most critical factors in his satisfaction with a care home. The type of living space can vary widely. Some offer whole apartments for residents, while others may only have a private bedroom with a shared space as a cooking and living area. Still others may provide a roommate for the resident. The needs of the resident should be fully understood before choosing a living condition for their needs. Many people require more privacy than others. On the other hand, other people may enjoy the company of someone who shares their living space. Most facilities offer attractive decors for their residents. However, the cosmetic appearance of the facility should never be the sole consideration for your selection.

Food quality can vary widely in care homes. Some facilities keep a close eye on costs in the area. As a result, both the quality of food and the variety of dishes can suffer. One resident of a care home expressed her displeasure by saying, “It’s the same thing over and over—and everything is too bland.” Variety is a common complaint among residents in these facilities. However, other facilities take special care to ensure that their residents get a broad range of foods and may have ethnic food nights and culinary treats for special occasions. Many care homes may engage residents in cooking meals as a way to encourage group interaction. This action can be a good way to spark appetites and ensure that residents feel engaged in their own care.

Housecleaning and Laundry
Care home facilities generally provide housecleaning for residents, along with laundry services. These tasks are often too burdensome for those in advanced years or individuals with memory problems. Leaving the chores to others is frequently a relief to residents and their families take great comfort in the knowledge that these tasks are no longer on the shoulders of their loved ones.

seniorcoupleexercisesmallIn many facilities, keeping resident engaged in social activities of many kinds is an important concern because it aids in both physical health and emotional well-being. Music, plays, crafts, exercise, pet therapy and speakers on current issues are often featured to keep residents active and involved. Field trips to shopping malls or nearby museums may also be scheduled. However, though some care homes advertise enriched activities for residents, they do not always deliver on their promises, and residents may end up feeling bored and restless from lack of stimulation. Always inquire about the frequency of activities and talk with current residents about how often these activities occur.

Social Interaction
A care home facility will take an active role in getting residents together for movie night, birthday celebrations, holiday festivities and field trips. They will take proactive steps to cajole and persuade residents to interact with others to prevent isolation and depression. They will closely monitor residents’ behavior to ensure that they are in good mental and physical health.

– Nisha represents a site called mhaauchlochan.org.uk. She has been writing about dementia care for the last two years.