You may have seen an email, social media post, or cartoon that tells you how crazy you’d be to go to a nursing home. Hotels are cheaper and they have swimming pools, etc. “Why go to a nursing home when you can retire to a hotel?”
The article invariably points out the differences in cost and quality of life. It’s fun to compare them, and it makes us feel better about getting older. “Sure,” you think to yourself, “when I get older, I’ll just check into a hotel, like the cool kids.” Before you turn in your house key for a hotel card, consider these points:
At a nursing home, the staff will get to know you. They will know your name, your medical history, your plan of care, your next of kin, your food allergies, and why Annette was your favorite Mouseketeer.
If you need help getting from the bed to the toilet, someone will come help you. Probably nicely. They will help you bathe, dress, walk, go from the bed to the chair and back again, all while helping you remember the name of that one actress who was in that movie with the dog. Not that one, the other one.
If you have an accident, they will clean you up. Seriously, that’s a big deal. They will check on you repeatedly if you are ill and will call your family members with updates.
They know your medications. They know what you have already taken, and what you haven’t yet. They know the difference between vyzulta and xalatan. (Who names these drugs? Is it a cat on a keyboard?)
But perhaps the most important quality of a nursing home is this:
You will not be asked to check out because:
Hotels are great, though, don’t get me wrong. If you really want to retire to a hotel rather than a nursing home, here are several things you can do that will make a huge difference:
Do as much strength training as you can, as often as you can. A person cannot become too strong. Let me share something with you – it might not feel good to train, but it feels good to be strong. There isn’t a pickle jar at the store that I cannot open. As a side note, don’t try this unless you really like pickles.
Do things that are mentally challenging, like playing chess, learning a musical instrument, or remembering where you parked your car at the mall.
Do stuff you care about with people you care about. Now is the time to go out and connect with people. Find your tribe and let your enthusiasm take you on an adventure. Your new best friends are out there, waiting for you!
Living in good health is much more about avoiding disease than it is about surviving disease.
To live healthy:
Well, consider unhealthy all the stuff your mother told you not to do.
Most of us will need skilled nursing care at some point in our life. If you do end up spending time in a nursing home, keep in mind one last piece of advice:
Be nice to your long term care nurses – they’re the ones choosing the size of your catheter.
What do you think are the pros of nursing homes compared to hotels? Where do you think you’d feel best taken care for? Please share your thoughts with our community!