Nursing Home: An Overview

Nursing Homes Overview

Moving into a nursing home is usually the first choice that comes to mind if you can no longer remain living independently at home.

However, most people are second-guessing choosing nursing homes as a place to age in, which is a valid reaction when trying to find the best option for you or your loved ones.

Researching and understanding nursing homes as an option is very important before deciding. So, to help you kick-start your decision-making process, this article will give you a thorough overview of what you need to know about nursing homes. 

Who Lives in Nursing Homes?

Four percent of Americans over 65 live in nursing homes. In addition, 2% of Americans in this same age group live in assisted living facilities.

Of those who live in nursing homes, 18.2% are between the ages of 65 and 74, 26.7% are between the ages of 75 and 84, and 38.6% are 85 or older.

While people over 65 make up the largest share of nursing home residents, many people under 65 live in nursing homes. 16.5% of all long-term nursing home residents are under 65, which isn’t an insignificant percentage.

The Benefits Of Nursing Homes

Nursing facilities deliver essential services for the elderly population. They provide a secure and encouraging environment that enables elders to age with dignity. Nursing homes also provide a variety of other benefits, including:

  • Trained personnel capable of offering care and assistance round-the-clock.
  • Exercise sessions and social gatherings are only a few services and activities available.
  • Onsite medical assistance from nurses and doctors.
  • Access to services for speech, occupational, and physical therapy.
  • A nutrition program that is nourishing and created by a licensed dietician.
  • A tidy and welcoming room or suite.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services.
  • A chance to chat with neighbors and make new acquaintances.
  • A feeling of belonging and community.
  • Residents and their families can feel at ease knowing they are safe and receiving quality care.

The Most Common Reasons for Living in a Nursing Home

1. They Can’t Take Care of Themselves

Assisted living may be necessary if your loved one cannot care for themselves. Other indications that it’s time to put a parent in a nursing home include the following:

  • Need help eating, using the restroom, standing, walking, laying down, and performing personal hygiene routines
  • No longer remembers to eat, bathe, or perform other important rituals
  • Are often confused and forgetful, even in familiar situations
  • End up in dangerous situations because of their confusion

However, while a nursing home is viable, it isn’t a good idea to immediately put your loved one into these facilities, so try to look for alternatives before making a decision. 

2. The Family Caregiver Is Feeling Constantly Drained

Family members’ loved ones are typically the first to care for them as they age. However, caring for an elderly family member, especially by yourself, can leave you mentally exhausted. After all, managing the care of someone you love when they cannot do it for themselves is both physically and emotionally taxing.

Although placing a family member in a nursing home can make them feel terrible, it’s vital to keep in mind that if they are physically worn out and fatigued, they might not be able to assist.

3. Professional Care Is Required

If older adults need specialized care to guarantee they have the resources to live comfortably, that is another reason they are placed in a nursing home. This is a reasonable choice because it gives them access to professional care around the clock. Additionally, nursing facilities offer an established community where residents can interact and organize events to entertain seniors.

4. Family Don’t Live Nearby

Even while family members might be ready to aid their elderly loved ones at home, this may not be possible for long periods. It’s unjust to demand that people quit their jobs or put their careers on indefinite pause because jobs and other commitments may come in the way.

If an aged family member is at least partially self-sufficient, having a caregiver come to them at home will be successful. But a nursing home might be your best option if they aren’t. It can ensure that you or your loved ones receive the care you require whenever necessary.

After that, family members can resume their normal lives, careers, and residences. Even though someone can feel abandoned and depressed due to this, keep in mind that your and a family member’s livelihood is equally crucial. They can always spend extended weekends with their family by traveling there. Additionally, Skype chats enable distant visits as well.

5. You’ve Exhausted the Alternatives

Even though at-home care is usually comfier and better than nursing homes, it isn’t always sufficient.

You might decide that it’s best to find a nice home for you or your parents after testing at-home alternatives. Investigate the credentials of the specialists employed by the facility you are considering when conducting your study. Ensure that the community’s reviews are favorable as well. You may even plan a nursing home trip to ensure the facility is kept up nicely and the residents are content.

Even though it might seem like a last resort, a nursing home is occasionally the best option.

Common Reasons Why Seniors Leave Nursing Homes

Apart from knowing why seniors opt to age in nursing homes, it is also important to learn about why they leave. This information is also a piece of crucial information that you need to consider when deciding.

So, here are some of the common reasons residents leave their nursing homes:

1. Inadequate Living Conditions

Although the quality of life in nursing homes has increased, the facilities still face challenges. Let’s say that a nursing home’s living circumstances are subpar or negatively affect a resident’s health or safety, and nothing can be done right now. It’s time to depart the facility in that situation.

2. Health Issues

Many people have removed their loved ones from nursing facilities due to the COVID-19 outbreak. By guaranteeing that expert, high-quality medical care is provided continuously, in-home senior care makes it simpler to reintegrate an elderly parent into the home.

3. Familiarity

Seniors may prefer to remain in their cozy homes since they are more comfortable there. People may naturally desire to stay in their cherished, secure, and familiar settings. Seniors may benefit from staying put at home by avoiding the uncertainty and worry that come with major life changes as they age. Seniors who stay at home benefit from privacy and security in a way that may not be possible in a nursing home.

4. Lack Of Privacy

In nursing facilities, private rooms can be expensive, while semi-private rooms require sharing space with a stranger. This can be extremely upsetting for those who have been independent for a long time because people naturally feel more at ease in familiar settings where they have some measure of privacy.

5. Desire For Independence

When someone enters a nursing home, they lose much of their freedom. There are curfews at certain nursing facilities. Others have guidelines for visiting hours and other matters. Even though nursing facilities take care of their residents’ requirements, those who can manage their care to some extent frequently suffer from extreme self-reliance withdrawal.

6. Boredom

Seniors may wish to refrain from participating in the many activities offered to nursing home patients. Age-appropriate and open to all activities are frequently included in nursing homes. Your loved one might be bored because these activities differ from what they were used to.

7. Expensive

Nursing homes’ high costs are justified by the fact that they offer seniors residence and medical care. Seniors and their families may suffer financially due to nursing home charges. And it is only anticipated that the expenditures will increase with time. However, more affordable senior care options, such as home care, are available.

Nursing Home Statistics That You Should Know

The vast Baby Boomer population is aging, which has increased the need for nursing homes and residential care (assisted living) facilities. You should be aware of the following data regarding nursing homes:

  • About 1,246,079 people live in nursing homes in the United States.
  • 70% of adults who turn 65 will eventually require long-term care.
  • In the United States, there are around 53 million unpaid family carers.
  • Approximately 69.3% of nursing homes are run as for-profit businesses.
  • Residents in nursing homes are mostly white and non-Hispanic.
  • A nursing home resident typically lives there for 2.2 years. It’s interesting to note that women require long-term care (at home, in an assisted living facility, or nursing home) on average for 3.7 years as opposed to men’s 2.2 years.
  • Although prevalent, elder abuse is still underreported.
  • Medicaid spent almost 21% of its budget on long-term care.
  • The typical length of time Medicare covers a nursing home stay is 22 days, up to a maximum of 100 days.
  • 56% of Baby Boomers with middle-class incomes believe incorrectly that Medicare will cover continued long-term care.
  • 79% of Baby Boomers lack the funds to pay for long-term care.


Doing your research before looking for a top-notch nursing home is strongly advised by experts. They suggest that incoming residents and their families research public records and perform their own facility inspections.

They advise against picking a facility in a hurry. However, many patients are sent straight from hospitals to one of the more than 15,000 nursing homes across the country, leaving little time for study.

Hence, preparing and planning way beyond your need can be really helpful for you to better decide and settle on a choice comfortably.