Falling in the Nursing Home


Dr. Rein Tideiksaar has written a good article on eCareDiary.com, called “Why is My Dad Falling in the Nursing Home?”  Frankly, it is an excellent question, but one that is no mystery to us at Support For Home Health Care or many other high quality home care agencies.

As Dr. Tideiksaar points out, having Mom or Dad experience some falls at home is often the motivator for the family to urge the parent(s) to move into assisted living (ALF) or even into a skilled nursing facility (SNF).  The expectation is that Mom or Dad will get the attention and care they need to ensure they are safe.

Unfortunately, this is just not the case.  It cannot be the case, through no fault of the ALF or SNF involved.  Even the higher quality facilities have very limited staff – a ratio of one caregiver to a dozen or more residents is more than common.

Before we ever started Support For Home Health Care, when my own folks began to need help and were passionate at staying at home, we looked at alternatives.  The more we all looked, the more clear we were that home was the answer, for them.  As my wife put it – and still maintains, “If I do not really need much help, but want someone to fix meals and clean the apartment, assisted living is a very good option.  However, when I really need help, whether it is from physical conditions or dementia or whatever, I am going back home, with my own caregiver!”  To that end, she went out and purchased Long-Term Care Insurance!

The key for her – and for an increasing number of families – is not that the assisted living or nursing home folks are not caring and well intentioned.  The key is when she becomes a fall risk or needs real support for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), a ratio of 1:12 or 1:15 just will not cut it.  Care at home is what will keep her safe, with a higher quality of life.

Is care at home the solution for everyone?  Absolutely not.  But, families should look at all the options, measured in terms of safety, cost and quality of life.

Best wishes.  Bert

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