Nursing Homes: A Diminished Quality of Life

Seniors who are forced to live in nursing homes often suffer many losses. In fact, the overall experience of moving from a state of independence in one’s own home to a state of dependence in a shared space with little control over one’s own life can be traumatic. This is why those who can should seriously consider aging in place.

Disadvantages of Nursing Homes

  • Loss of Independence
    Unlike seniors who age in place, residents of nursing homes often have to give up their independence. They become subject to the home’s rules, schedules and routines. They may also no longer be allowed to do simple tasks such as plan and prepare their own meals. Admittedly, some residence will be unable to take care of themselves, but those who can take care of themselves are often negatively impacted by the inability to do so.
  • Loss of Home, Prized Possessions and Personal Space
    Many residents of nursing homes will never return to the house they built and lived in for years. In many cases, these homes may even be sold in order to afford the long term care they will need as time progresses. What is even worse, residents are often unable to take much of their prized possessions with them because they now have to live in a smaller, shared space. Furthermore, they may not get a say in how their possessions are distributed.
  • Loss of the Ability to Choose for Oneself
    Far too many residents of nursing homes are placed there by their family without having much of a say in the process. Even when they do have a say, the predetermined routine of the nursing home removes their ability to choose for themselves when it comes to many things. This is a part of the larger loss of independence but runs much deeper than losing the physical aspect of the independence felt when aging in place.
  • Loss of self-worth and self-esteem
    Studies in the US and UK have shown that seniors who must reside in nursing homes often suffer from low self-esteem and low self-worth over time. This is true for those who are forced to move to a home as well as those who do so willingly, especially if they are not properly prepared.
  • Loss of Connections
    Residents of nursing homes are essentially removed from their wider community. Structured visitations, the inability to plan social gatherings at any time and simply being confined to a nursing home can negatively impact a senior’s lifelong connections. To compound the issue, the realization that many of their friends have passed on and they are unable to remain in constant contact with the ones who are left can worsen the trauma of moving to a home.
  • Loss of Happiness
    While some will adjust, a large number seniors experience bouts of depression when placed in nursing homes. This condition worsens their quality of life and makes it almost impossible to enjoy their final years. Many become emotionally withdrawn.

Aforementioned points clearly indicate that nursing homes are diminishing the quality of our elderly population. A 2009 study sampling 97 residents of different nursing homes found that 14.4% of the population sample suffered from major depression, 14.4% suffered from minor depression. These people needed antidepressants and there are other findings that show antidepressants (psychiatric or non-psychiatric) can cause a host of other mental illnesses in elderly.

So why should our loved ones spend their final years in anywhere but the home they spent decades building? Aging in place eliminates all of the above. As such, it is hoped that more families will choose this option to ensure their seniors enjoy the best quality of life possible in their golden years.

Posted by editor on Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:04

 

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