Nursing Homes – time for a rethink?
Many of us have grown up with the words ‘nursing home’ at the forefront of our minds when it comes to thinking about care for those elderly people who are finding it difficult to manage in their own homes. Our usual stereotypical image of nursing homes is of a group of under-stimulated octogenarians sitting in chairs grouped round the edge of a sitting room where they watch television all day and don’t communicate very much with the staff or with each other. We might all have visited an elderly relative in one of these nursing homes at some time or other years ago. But this is an outdated concept – the nursing homes of our imagination are a thing of the past and have been replaced by a variety of options to provide help and support to those who need it.
The opportunity to continue living at home, staying connected to their community is the goal for many older people. With the right support this is usually possible as there are now so many products, services and operators that have the older person in mind. There are special gadgets designed for the elderly, help with everyday life, assistance with bathing/dressing, meals on wheels, in-home cleaning, driving services, professional services and those who will help around the house and garden to name just a few.
Village life with activities
More and more retirement villages are being built nowadays, catering for the active over 55s who are looking for comfort and companionship in a modern setting with interesting activities available on site. These lifestyle villages come in many different shapes and sizes and it is a good idea to research carefully to find the one that suits the individual. This type of village living is really taking off in New Zealand as it avoids the social isolation which sometimes comes with advancing years and provides mental and physical stimulation through the many amenities provided.
Specialist aged care
Specialist aged care in a residential setting is quite a different proposition from a retirement village. The emphasis is on looking after the needs of the individual. There are a number of care services that can be offered to residents to make sure they are looked after in accordance with their medical, physical and psychological needs including rest home care, dementia care, hospital care and palliative care. Ultimate Care personnel have years of experience in assessing residents’ requirements and the level of care that they need. This is monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure residents are receiving the best possible care. Residents, families and medical teams work together to create personal care plans.
Choosing a home
Ultimate Care Group runs specialist aged care facilities all over the country and can provide a list of local homes so that anyone moving on to the next stage of their lives can visit, talk to the manager, staff and residents and decide whether the home might be suitable. It’s a good idea to look at the physical environment, room sizes, activities available and food service. It’s also important to speak to residents and get their view on the home. Social workers or WINZ will be able to advise about a financial subsidy, and a needs assessment is essential to determine what level of care is needed. At Ultimate Care we strongly recommend that once the decision has been taken as to which home is suitable, people bring in some of their own furniture and cherished items as this will help them to feel at home.
The opportunities and facilities available for those needing extra care and support demonstrates that the nursing homes of 20 or 30 years ago have had their day. There is now a wide variety of choice to suit each different individual and their particular needs. From assisted living at home, to lifestyle villages, to specialist aged care in a residential setting, elderly people have never had so much choice. The blanket term ‘nursing home’ is no longer adequate and nursing homes themselves are indeed a thing of the past.