Growing older is a natural part of life, and knowing how to live comfortably and safely in one’s senior years is essential to maintaining dignity of life. Around the world, the population of those aged 60 and over may double between 2015 and 2050, just to name one example, and this represents an increase from 12% to 22% of the world’s population. How can senior citizens in the United States and abroad continue to have their needs looked after as they age, especially if they have serious health needs that cannot be met in a private residence alone? When a senior citizen is managing one or more serious health issues, this will mean relocating him or her to a long term care facility, and a skilled nursing facility will have trained staff on hand to take care of any patient’s needs around the clock, and this can be a big relief for the family of an older citizen with needs. How often are Americans ageing today, and what can they expect at a long term care facility? What are some health issues that may necessitate sending an older relative to long term care facilities?
The oldest of the Baby Boomers, those born between around 1945-1962, were turning 65 years old in 2011, and this started a trend of relative growth within the senior population that is expected to continue until the year 2030 or so, and all of these older citizens will have health issues that require medical attention with trained prof4essionals. In the state of Missouri, to name just one example, the population of those aged 65 and older is predicted to climb over 450,000 within the next 15 years, and that would boost the total number of senior citizens in that state to around 1.3 million, and similar trends might be found across the nation, from Massachusetts to California. Some older citizens are in good health and can live in their current residences with great autonomy, but for those who cannot due to health issues, relocating to a long term care facility will be required, and younger family members of that senior citizen may help arrange this. If the family and friends cannot provide the level of care needed for long term care, then the senior may be placed where they can get this care at all times.
Why a Long Term Care Facility?
Some health conditions of seniors are too serious to handle with caring family members who visit the senior’s home, and moving them to a long term care facility may be the only safe option. Physical issues such as osteoporosis may be common, and make life impossible to life safety outside of skilled nursing facilities. Other ailments that affect bone, muscle, or motor skills such as Parkinson’s disease may also send a senior to such care, and partial paralysis due to a stroke can have a similar effect.
A major and common reason to send a senior citizen to a long term care facility is dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. This condition cannot be cured or prevented once it sets in, although the services at long term care will help slow down and limit those adverse effects, both physical and mental. Alzheimer’s causes not only memory loss and mental impairment, but also physical clumsiness that could be dangerous at the home, such as tripping and falling or misusing cutting tools or open flames such as matches or scissors. At a long term fare facility, however, around the clock care and right furniture and medical equipment will make for an environment that is safe and comfortable to navigate, such as removing any tripping or burn hazards. Such facilities may offer activities and a strong social life for the patient, which has been demonstrated to help slow down the effects of dementia such as Alzheimer’s. Even something as simple as having a circle of regular friends, taking short (supervised) walks, and completing logic challenges such as jigsaw puzzles can keep a long term care patient happy, engaged, and most of all, limit the effects of dementia. Trained staff will be on hand in case anything goes wrong, and medical help will never be far away.