There has been an ongoing debate about whether home care or moving an elderly relative into a nursing home is better. There are a number of pros and cons for each, but this article is predominantly interested in looking at the issues of the moment, which are loneliness and the need for the elderly to have ongoing and seamless access to professional medical care. This issue has arguably put the debate to bed, as there can be no more questioning the fact that being with others is far better for your health in older age rather than being on your own.
The impact of loneliness could be the decider
The question as to whether an older person needs to move into a nursing, care, or residential home has always been answered based on their physical health and ability to look after themselves. This should be no more as we now recognize the paramountcy of mental health and well-being and the impact that loneliness will have on this aspect of elderly life. Living your last years alone is the saddest thought for many older people, and it is incumbent on our society to avoid this at all costs.
Social isolation can impact and shorten your life
Close relationships and friendships can have a positive impact on your health and well-being and, in fact, have been linked to a happier, healthier life, so too the converse is true. Living an isolated and lonely life can be the cause of premature death from all causes. In fact, it is this loneliness and social isolation that a great number of senior and older people have noted as the main cause of their distress and the reason they look to move into a retirement community.
Professional nursing and medical care
Whether you have chosen a mid-country St Louis nursing home or one in sunny Florida, the biggest deciding factor for many has been the provision of highly professional nursing and healthcare. Staying at home on your own can present a risk, especially if older adults have any serious illnesses or chronic diseases. For many older people, professional nursing care is also a means to access companionship and support in their older age. It provides a sense of assurance and can make for a much less stressful existence.
This may be an ongoing debate, and yes, it will work differently for different families. At the heart of the issue is that seniors living options and choices have begun to change, and whether you look to move into a nursing home or stay at home with assistance, one of the biggest concerns to be dealt with must be loneliness.
Any living option must be as social and sociable as possible. Perhaps, then, the final answer is that it shouldn’t matter where the older person chooses to stay as long as they have the support, professional medical care, and friendships that we all need in life.