- Living in a nursing home can provide security, 24/7 support and care, and a strong community of people
- There are many activities and facilities within a nursing home that can help maintain your quality of life
- A lot of myths float around about nursing homes, however, there are a lot of misconceptions about aged care facilities
- Nursing homes are required to meet a certain level of standards and regulations set by the Federal Government
The many benefits of life in a nursing home
Moving into an aged care home will mean you'll have access to 24/7 support with access to all the care and services you need. Staff are generally friendly and outgoing and can be called on if you need any help.
Daily life in a nursing home may be different from how you lived before moving in, but many residents feel positive about these changes as they often involve more social opportunities and activities. You and your family can also take comfort in the fact that any care needs you have - from medication management to support for dementia - will be looked after every day.
Some of the biggest benefits of aged care over care at home are the peace of mind, security, medical assistance and constant support which a facility can provide to maintain your physical health to the highest standard possible. This not only benefits you but also your family, with stress taken out of your circumstances.
But quality of life in aged care is about more than just physical health, it’s also about mental, social and emotional wellbeing.
There are many ways to maintain quality of life in an aged care facility.
Maintaining your quality of life
You can continue to enjoy your usual activities outside the nursing home, such as attending any regular classes, meeting friends in your favourite coffee shop or attending family events.
Exercise classes, arts and crafts, bingo, concerts, outings and other leisure options are generally offered at the facility and can all be ways of maintaining quality of life in residential aged care.
Many nursing homes have strong links to the local community and residents benefit from being involved with activities such as meeting local school children or other people from community groups.
You can choose to get involved in activities with other residents of the home, find a quiet spot to read or watch television or stay in your own room to enjoy your own company.
Family members and friends are encouraged to visit as often as they can and many nursing homes also have special areas available for private functions, so you can still hold special events for family and friends in your home.
While most homes do not allow residents to have their own personal pets, a lot now have ‘live-in’ animals such as cats, rabbits, dogs and birds.
Many nursing homes also arrange for a variety of animals to visit – something which staff and residents alike enjoy.
If little luxuries and comforts will lift your wellbeing you can sometimes opt to pay more for extra services. These are considered 'hotel-type services', which provide a higher standard of accommodation, food and entertainment - for example, a bigger ensuite or daily newspaper delivery.
Dispelling the myths around nursing homes
There are some myths which perpetuate the stigma around nursing homes.
Many people believe that an aged care facility won’t feel like a home, but in reality, facilities will do their best to make you feel at home and provide you with opportunities to live the lifestyle you choose.
The widely held belief that moving into an aged care facility is like moving into a hospital is also untrue. Although the main focus of the facility is care, there is a much larger emphasis on lifestyle and overall wellbeing than in a hospital, meaning residents live in homely environments.
Another common misconception is that residential aged care is not affordable. The Federal Government subsidises the majority of the cost of aged care and for the remainder of the cost you will not be forced to pay more than you can afford.
You also don’t have to sell your home to move into aged care or to afford residential care, which is a widespread myth.
The final myth around aged care is that residents have no rights. In reality, regardless of what services you choose to take part in, all nursing homes are required to provide a certain level of care and uphold the same rights for residents as others in the community have.
Care standards and regulations for nursing homes
All Government funded aged care homes have to meet certain standards and are reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they deliver the best care and services to their residents.
These standards cover areas such as staffing, health and personal care, lifestyle, living environment and safety and security and include:
- Consumer dignity and choice (to treat residents with respect and allow them to maintain their identity as well as make informed choices about care and services)
- Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers (to help residents to get the care and services they need for health and wellbeing)
- Personal care and health care (that both safe and the right care for the resident)
- Services and supports for daily living (for the health and wellbeing of residents)
- Organisation’s service environment (having an environment in which residents feel safe and comfortable)
- Feedback and complaints (residents feel safe, encouraged and supported to give feedback and make complaints)
- Human resources (residents get quality care and services when they need it from people who are knowledgeable, capable and caring)
- Organisational guidance (residents are confident the organisation is well run)
The aim of the standards is to give consumers confidence that aged care providers will work in partnership with them and their families and to ensure the care they receive supports their health, wellbeing and quality of life.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is responsible for the review of aged care homes. Learn more about the standard in our article, 'Aged Care Quality Standards explained'.
Call to speak to a placement consultant about the best aged care services for your particular circumstances on 1300 903 627.
What life do you want to lead in aged care? Tell us in the comments below.