As Americans live longer, many of the traditional nursing homes of years past are transitioning to a person-centered model of care. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, they have clear ideas about the way they want to receive care. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 18 percent of Americans will be older than age 65 by 2020, compared to just 13 percent of Americans by 2010. In response to these preferences as well as to the rising cost of medical care, seniors are increasingly able to “age in place,” receiving nursing home level care in the privacy and comfort of their own home rather than in a facility setting. Read on to learn more about how nursing homes are changing, and how these changes will affect your loved ones who need care.
Increased Technology for Senior Care
The pervasive use of technology in most aspects of our lives is also reflected in senior care solutions. Modern nursing homes are increasingly introducing a range of smart technologies for residents, including wireless networks that allow seniors to access instant support from their care teams. Another popular option is the provision of smart computer systems that allow residents and caregivers to track medications, vital signs, and more.
Designated Memory Care
As Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress, intensive individualized care is needed. Many nursing homes are designating specific units for these patients, with a focus on dignity, socialization, and 24-hour care and supervision. These units typically have either private or semi-private rooms. Certain communities are even designed specifically to harken back to days of yore, mirroring a patient’s past while he or she increasingly retreats into long-term memory as the disease progresses.
Aging in Place
Rather than relying on institutional models of care for aging adults, families are more likely to take steps that help seniors receive needed care at home. This often takes the form of multigenerational living, in which homes are expanded or modified to add space and facilities for aging family members. Home care services allow older adults to receive the individualized care they need outside of a nursing home setting. For many seniors, home care is a less expensive alternative to assisted living care and allows the availability of a nurse or aide to be tailored to the patient’s needs.
Co-operative Assisted Living
This care model allows a small group of seniors to live in a community setting with health care and other services available. This lower cost model combines the convenience and care of a nursing home setting with the shared amenities typically associated with a standard housing development. Residents share not only medical care facilities but also fitness and swimming facilities, rideshare, gardens, and other features. With this rise in cooperative living comes a trend for lifestyle-specific senior communities, such as those for LGBT or other special interest groups.
Whether your family member currently needs care or you’re planning for your own health care needs after retirement, today’s older adults have more options than ever when it comes to nursing home care.