Do The Benefits Of Nursing Homes Outweigh The Risks?

Aging in Place Dec 15, 2020

It’s not an easy decision to have a loved one move into a nursing home. However, the fact remains that as people age, oftentimes due to declining health or memory issues they can no longer handle all the daily tasks of maintaining a household. Limited mobility makes cooking and cleaning more of a chore, and with memory loss and other health issues aging adults may need assistance with healthy meals that adhere to new health restrictions.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

What are the options?

Adult children are often faced with a dilemma. How do they take care of their aging parents, who were once robust and independent?

There tend to be three main options: the member(s) of the family takes on the role of caregiver, assisted home care from an organization, or a nursing home. For many adult children caring for an aging parent, it isn’t really feasible due to distance, work, or caring for their own young children.

Nursing homes account for at least a third of the nation’s 76,000+ Covid-19 fatalities, and in 14 states they’re more than half the total, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data. Those numbers are not complete as many states aren’t disclosing the data and the metrics to truly measure the death toll.

Nursing homes used to be a great option for on-staff care 24 hours. Some provided onsite activities and created a community for older adults. With the pandemic though many of these social activities have stopped, and these nursing homes have rather become medical and living spaces. hat means that many adults living in these homes have been regulated to social distancing measures with little room for space and risk all around them.

Since nursing homes have become the hotbeds of the spread of both disease and deaths in this particular case it brings pause to many families when it comes to considering leaving their loved ones in these institutions or making plans to put them there.

This decision will be a rising problem in the future according to aging statistics. It is estimated that by 2034 older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history and that trend is expected to continue with the gap between young and old widening so that the country will be older, not younger according to US Census data projections.

Boutique Home Care — Personalized Care

Many boutique home care firms like Avida are starting to become appealing options for adults who want to stay independent but realize they need some additional help, or for older children looking to provide the support for mom or dad that they themselves can’t manage for whatever reason.

Raul Mendez founded Avida Homecare with his wife, Adrienne, who is a nurse. He personally understands the questions and needs of adults looking to care for their aging parents as his inspiration to start Avida came from needing something similar for his father.

While Avida currently is a small boutique homecare facility attending residents in the San Francisco Bay Area, many more companies like this are popping up across the country as boutique care aims to truly personalize looking after loved ones.

“We are very personal, we have come up with a model that is unique,” said Raul.

All calls are returned in 3 hours — 7 days a week, and they put extra effort into ensuring quality care and a quality workplace. Their lead caregiver is a certified nursing assistant who does all initial assessments and works together with other caregivers to hand off care in a friendly way based on client preferences, so no ‘stranger’ is ever showing up for care. Caregivers are all trained and paid more than competitors, who often pay just minimum wage. Plus there is an average of 1.5 to 2.2 caregivers per client so that no client gets overlooked. Plus Raul personally does check-ins with staff and clients.

“I reach out on a weekly or biweekly basis. It is nice to know when we are doing well, but it is better to know when or where we are failing so we can correct it.”

Raul is dedicated to constantly improving his budding business with an emphasis on a solid foundation, not on cutting costs.

Raul’s business is based on avoiding the neglect you get at some nursing homes and allowing his clients to feel safe, secure, and empowered as they age all while providing peace of mind for the clients’ loved ones.

In order to do this, Raul is creating unique home care opportunities for his clients like his partnership with GetSetUp, an education platform and virtual community where educators over 50 teach peers the essential tech tools they need to be healthier, happier, and more connected. He has created a customized bundle subscription of GetSetUp classes so that his clients can feel connected even while at home and learn to digitally adopt the latest technology, use the latest apps, and navigate the internet effectively to find tools that keep them cognitively and socially engaged.

Raul isn’t just looking out for the basics of home health care he wants his clients to have all-around health and well-being even when his caregivers aren’t in the house. Through his GetSetUp bundle subscription, clients can customize their learning around their interests, and remain active throughout the week.

Staying Social As You Age

According to research people are most active with others in their 40s and as they age past that they have less contact with diverse people and spend more and more time alone.

As people age they may be separated from their loved ones or lose them, so it's important that they have opportunities to expand their social circle. With the pandemic in 2020 this has limited many people from many activities that normally engage them with diverse community from faith-based groups, volunteer work, and other hobbies.

Research by Esteban Ortiz-Ospina on Who do we spend time with across our lifetime? shows socialization trends throughout one’s lifetime. Teens spend the most time with friends and family with family normally seeing less and less of the teen as they move into their 20s. Those who have children in their 30-50s tend to send the most time with their partner, children, and co-workers. The greatest shift though happens for those who are 60 or older. According to the research while people are most active with others in their 40s often times as people retire and age they have less and less contact with diverse people and spend more and more time alone.

However being alone and being lonely are two different things. Just because a person is alone doesn’t mean they are necessarily lonely, especially now when they have so many opportunities to connect. What is important though is that they know how to use the tools they have like smart phones, computers, and internet to engage in activities that they love!

Area agencies on aging, health departments, community centers, children and grandchildren are helping the older adults in their lives and communities connect through technology. GetSetUp is helping them to learn how to navigate these tech tools with confidence and then use them to enjoy classes with peers across the globe!

For the holiday season give the gift of connection to the older adults in your community by forming a partnership with your local organization.

Not sure what to get mom, dad, grandma or grandpa for the holidays? Give them the chance to have fun, learn, and meet new people by providing them with a GetSetUp subscription.

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