Be nice to your children. After all, they are going to choose your nursing home.”

Steven Wright, Comedian

Pros and Cons of Retirement Homes vs. Home Care

advantages and disadvantages of nursing homes

Nursing homes have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Many people don’t have the time or expertise to take care of their old parents at home.

However, even though retirement homes have many advantages, they also imply some downsides. In this article, the pros and cons of nursing homes are discussed in detail.

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Advantages of Nursing Homes

  1. Nursing home can take away emotional burden from you
  2. Retirement homes offer care 24/7
  3. Staff in nursing homes may have more experience than you
  4. May be better prepared for emergencies
  5. People in nursing homes can play with each other
  6. Days are rather structured in nursing homes
  7. Proper medical care is assured
  8. People do no longer have to take care of the household
  9. Nursing homes provide people with meals every day
  10. Nursing homes can be more convenient than taking care of your parents at home
  11. Can save you plenty of time
  12. Home care may not be possible for you if you work in a demanding job
  13. Giving your old parents to nursery homes may give you peace of mind
  14. Nursing homes can offer a safe environment

Nursing home can take away emotional burden from you

One important advantage of nursing homes is that they can take away the emotional burden to take care of your parents at home. It can be quite hard to see your parents struggle with various tasks in their daily life. Moreover, you will also see your loved ones getting weaker and weaker over time until they will finally die.

Hence, all this can lead to a significant emotional burden on you and if you are a rather sensitive person, you may feel quite overwhelmed and may not be able to deal with the whole situation in a proper manner.

In such a case, it may be easier to give your parents to a nursing home since you will not have to watch the issues of your parents all day long.

Retirement homes offer care 24/7

Nursing homes will also offer care all day and night long. This can be quite important in case your loved ones need support at any time. While you will likely have to work during the day and will not be able to take care of your old parents during this time, the staff in nursing homes will be there for them anytime they need support.

Hence, the overall level of assistance will likely also be much better in nursing homes compared to a state where you take care of your parents at home.

Staff in nursing homes may have more experience than you

Another benefit of nursing homes is that the staff in retirement homes will often be much more experienced than you are regarding the care of elderly persons. If you take care of your old parents or other family members on your own, chances are that you will often not know what you have to do in certain situations and you may feel quite overwhelmed and desperate due to that.

In contrast, if your family members live in a nursing home, they will be supervised by qualified staff who know exactly what to do in various different situations. Hence, you also do not have to worry that you make serious mistakes regarding the care of your parents if you give them to a retirement home.

May be better prepared for emergencies

In general, since the staff in nursing homes is qualified and has plenty of experience, chances are that caregivers will also know what they have to do in case of emergency. Old people are at a much higher risk of getting sick and also to suffer from heart attacks and other severe health issues. In such a case, it is crucial that there are people around who know exactly what to do in such a situation.

Let’s be honest. Most of us would be quite helpless in such a situation since we simply haven’t learned what to do apart from just calling the ambulance. However, in nursing homes, the staff will learn certain techniques that can increase the chances for your loved ones to survive.

People in nursing homes can play with each other

Another upside of retirement homes is that old people can socialize and play with each other. Old people often lost most of their friends and don’t have too many social contacts anymore.

However, in nursery homes, there will be many elderly persons in one place and those people can connect with each other and spend their time together.

Hence, nursery homes can also be a great way to reduce the level of loneliness of many old people in our society.

Days are rather structured in nursing homes

Old people often also struggle to structure their day. Many of them suffer from mental problems and forget about many things they actually wanted to do sooner or later. Hence, if those people live alone, they may let themselves go too much.

Thus, in such a case, nursing homes can greatly help in this regard since the days are quite structured and elderly persons are guided by the staff regarding what activities come next in the day.

Proper medical care is assured

In general, when you live in a nursing home, you will get proper medical treatment anytime you need it. This is extremely helpful since the older generation is at much higher risk for serious health conditions and it is good when there are nurses around who can take care of these issues.

In contrast, if you take care of your old parents at home, you will often not know what to do if your parents need medical treatment of various sorts.

People do no longer have to take care of the household

For the elderly, it is often also difficult to do the household since they often suffer from serious physical or mental issues. In such a case, those people will also be much better off in nursing homes since they do not have to take care of their household anymore at all.

In fact, there will be enough staff who does all the work and elderly people can really enjoy their time instead of having to clean their homes.

Nursing homes provide people with meals every day

Another benefit of retirement homes is that they also provide your loved ones with meals all day long. This means that you do no longer have to care about making food for your old family members.

Instead, you can rely on the staff in nursing homes that they provide your parents with proper food and drinks. In turn, you do no longer have to cook and can use your time for other important projects you currently have to do.

Nursing homes can be more convenient than taking care of your parents at home

In general, giving your parents to nursing homes is often also much more convenient compared to taking care of them at your home. In nursing homes, the staff will take care of everything and you don’t have to worry about taking care of your elderly family members anymore.

Moreover, you also don’t have to worry about potential mistakes you may make when you take care of your old family members on your own. Thus, homes for the elderly may also make your life much easier and much more convenient.

Can save you plenty of time

If you give your parents or other family members to nursery homes, you can also save plenty of time. While many people actually wanted to take care of their family members, they will just not have time for it due to various reasons.

Hence, if you are one of those people who simply don’t have time for taking care of your elderly family members, nursing homes may be the way to go for you.

Home care may not be possible for you if you work in a demanding job

Also if you work in a demanding job for long hours every day, you will often not have the time nor the energy to take care of your elderly relatives. Therefore, also in such a case, retirement homes can be a great option since you will no longer have to worry about taking care of your old family members and can focus all your energy on your career.

Giving your old parents to nursery homes may give you peace of mind

Some people also feel quite relieved when they finally make the decision to give their parents to nursing homes. In many cases, people simply don’t have the mental capacities to take care of their parents and also fear that they make crucial mistakes in the caretaking process.

Hence, for many people, giving their parents to retirement homes may also lead to peace of mind since they know that the staff in nursing homes will take good care of their parents.

Nursing homes can offer a safe environment

Another upside of retirement homes is that they offer a quite safe environment for your elderly relatives. This does not only include proper medical treatment, it also includes being saved from dodgy people who often try to sell unnecessary stuff to elderly people by simply ringing on their doors.

Disadvantages of Retirement Homes

  1. Nursing homes can be expensive
  2. Elderly persons often feel lost in retirement homes
  3. Lack of personal care
  4. Confined levels of freedom
  5. Spread of diseases in retirement homes
  6. Nursing homes may feel rather unfamiliar at the beginning
  7. Quality of nursing homes greatly depends on staff members
  8. Many old people want to die at home instead of in nursing homes
  9. Some retirement homes are quite bad
  10. Privacy may be a problem as well
  11. Confined living space in nursing homes
  12. You may feel some level of guilt
  13. Family members may feel rejected
  14. Nursing homes often do not allow pets

Nursing homes can be expensive

Apart from the many important advantages of retirement homes, there are still some problems with these facilities. For instance, one disadvantage of nursing homes is that they are often quite expensive. In fact, it can cost 100,000 USD per year or even more to give a family member to nursing homes.

Hence, this can result in a huge financial burden and most people will not have the financial capabilities to afford retirement homes. Therefore, if you are not able to financially afford nursing homes, you will have to take care of your elderly family members yourself or get some part-time assistance.

Elderly persons often feel lost in retirement homes

Many old people also simply don’t like living in a retirement home at all. Many of them feel lost and separated from their family. Moreover, many elderly people may also not like staff members and if this personal connection between staff members and old people is not there, chances are that elderly people will feel quite uncomfortable in those homes.

In fact, many elderly people complain on a regular basis that they don’t like staying in the nursing home at all and that they would rather want to stay at their home instead.

Hence, before you give your old parents to a nursing home, make sure that they actually want to live there in order to make their last years as enjoyable as possible for them.

Lack of personal care

Some retirement homes are also quite crowded and the ratio between staff and old people is rather poor. In such a case, there will often be a lack of personal care since staff members will simply not have the time to listen to the stories of their patients since they will have to do too many things at a time. Therefore, people who live in those homes may often feel neglected and not welcome in retirement homes.

Confined levels of freedom

If you live in a nursing home, your level of freedom will also be pretty confined. Quite often, retirement homes have a rather strict schedule and deviations from those schedules may not be possible most of the time.

Hence, if you are a freedom-loving person who wants to stay flexible regarding what to do every day of the week, retirement homes may not be the right way to go for you.

Spread of diseases in retirement homes

Another problem of nursing homes is that living in such a home poses a greater risk to get infected with diseases. Members of those homes will get into contact with many other members on a regular basis and this means that if only one nursing home member gets sick, many other home members will get sick as well.

In turn, since the immune system of the older generation is often rather weak, the spread of common diseases like the flu can lead to serious consequences for the residents of nursing homes.

Nursing homes may feel rather unfamiliar at the beginning

Many old people are also quite used to living in their own house. Many of them lived in their homes for decades and simply do not want to give up their familiar surroundings. Therefore, many people may also feel quite unfamiliar in nursing homes at the beginning and some people will never be able to adapt to the new circumstances.

Thus, if you are a person who really loves your home and is also rather inflexible regarding your way of life, chances are that going for living in a nursing home may not be the way to go for you.

Quality of nursing homes greatly depends on staff members

Another risk of nursing homes is that their quality greatly depends on the qualification and the motivation of staff members. Good staff members are crucial to make the stay in nursing homes as enjoyable as possible for the older generations. However, if you consider staying in a retirement home, you will have no idea whether the staff members will be friendly and competent or not.

Hence, make sure that you ask other residents of the respective retirement home in order to figure out whether the respective nursing home is good or not.

Many old people want to die at home instead of in nursing homes

For many people, it is just quite important that they die in their own homes instead of in a retirement home. Many people don’t want to die in a rather anonymous atmosphere in a nursing home far away from their relatives. They often want to spend their remaining days with their family and friends at home instead.

Therefore, also in this regard, nursing homes can be considered as rather problematic and if your parents rather want to stay at their own home instead of moving to a nursing home, you should accept this decision.

Some retirement homes are quite bad

Nursing homes also greatly differ in quality. While there are some really good ones out there, there are also many nursing homes which only offer rather poor quality to their residents.

Therefore, if you plan to spend your last years in a nursing home, make sure that you check out many different reviews and also that you ask current residents of those homes whether they like it there or not.

By doing so, you can get a much better picture regarding whether the respective retirement home meets your requirements or not.

Privacy may be a problem as well

Another downside of retirement homes is that they often only offer a quite confined level of privacy. There will always be plenty of staff members and other residents around you and in many cases, you will even have to share a room with other residents. This can be quite annoying, especially if you don’t like your roommates and also do not have too much in common.

Confined living space in nursing homes

The rooms in nursing homes are often also quite small. This implies that many people don’t feel too comfortable in those retirement homes. It also implies that you will often not be able to bring all your belongings to your new home and you will have to say goodbye to many old material things due to that.

Hence, if you are a person who needs plenty of space to feel good, home care may be the better way to go for you compared to living in a retirement home.

You may feel some level of guilt

If you make the decision to send your parents to a nursing home, you may also feel quite guilty due to this decision. This is especially true when you actually know that your parents rather wanted to live their last years at home instead of living in a nursing home. Consequently, make sure that you are really fine with your decision in order not to regret it later on.

Family members may feel rejected

Also your family members may feel rejected if you try to convince them to stay in a retirement home. In fact, many parents expect their children to take care of them once they get old instead of just sending them to a nursing home.

Nursing homes often do not allow pets

Another problem with retirement homes is that you will often also not be allowed to bring your pets with you. In fact, pets are often quite important to old people since they often don’t have too much other company anymore.

This also implies that many elderly people will not be willing to give away their pets at all and nursing homes will therefore not be suitable for them in such a case.

Top 10 Nursing Home Pros & Cons – Summary List

Nursing Home ProsNursing Home Cons
Nursing homes can give old people companyNursing homes can be quite expensive
Staff in retirement homes can help 24/7Many people don’t like nursing homes
Proper medical treatment is assuredRetirement homes greatly differ in quality
Staff can help in case of emergencyElderly persons may feel lost
May reduce emotional burden on youConfined space in nursing homes
You don’t have to fear to make mistakesLack of personal treatment in nursing homes
People do no longer have to do the householdPrivacy issues in nursing homes
Nursing homes offer safe environmentsYou may feel guilty
Staff in nursing homes has extensive experienceYour elderly family members may feel rejected
Can give you peace of mindRetirement homes often don’t allow pets

Are Nursing Homes Better Than Home Care?

As we can see from the previous discussion, there are numerous upsides and downsides of nursing homes. In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether nursing homes may be the way to go for you or if you rather want to stay at your own home. However, make sure that you also discuss this important topic with your family members in order to find the best solution for all of you.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursing_home

https://sorted.org.nz/guides/retirement/choosing-a-retirement-village/

https://optionsforseniorliving.com/8-important-tips-for-choosing-a-retirement-home/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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