Are Nursing Homes Depressing?


Nursing homes are increasingly becoming the destinations for long-term care of older adults. With the healthcare system in the country undergoing improvement in its service, there is also a common misconception that nursing homes are depressing. What’s the reality? Are nursing homes depressing?

Nursing homes are safe and complete destinations for older adults requiring medical attention. However, it can be depressing for caretakers due to monotony and burnout at the workplace. 

If you are looking to seek the help of nursing homes for your loved ones, remember that there are ways for them to feel better and recover from these locations. In this article, we shall present the reality of being at these centers. 

How Do Seniors Feel About Nursing Homes

Seniors consider nursing homes as the destination where they breathe their last breath. The truth is that nursing homes are pathways to recovery and better quality of life, although it may take an extended time period. 

Skilled nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities are primarily meant to offer the desired medical care and attention to the elderly. MedlinePlus states that not all seniors experience extended stays. It depends on the condition and the treatment required. 

Trained providers at these nursing homes supervise the health condition of seniors and offer interdepartmental support to overcome or cope with primary issues. Extended stays at nursing homes can be daunting since you have to stay away from your loved ones and cope with the physiological decline due to impairments. That does not mean such homes can put you in depression. 

Several nursing home residents and their family members have shared the difference that the medical care brought to their lives.

The mood of a nursing home is influenced by residents’ attitudes, organizational structure, employer morale, and the environment. Some nursing homes are well-maintained and lit, giving patients a positive outlook and convenient mindset. Contrarily, some nursing homes fail to improve the infrastructure, and the dull internal environment can turn the experience lifeless. 

Another nursing home worker has stated that residents stay happy when the internal environment is well-maintained, and the relationship between staff and patients is fantastic. The quality of life is attributed to the relationship existing between nurses and patients. 

Some seniors find the transition to nursing homes depressing for the reasons below:

  • Inability to adapt to a new environment at a chronic stage
  • Several patients with multiple ailments are treated in the same space, and there is limited time for interaction as patients need to rush for their treatment. 
  • Inability to cope with physiological decline. 
  • Dedicated visitor hours have depressed many as they cannot meet their loved ones always. However, from the nursing home perspective, setting visiting hours is crucial to focus more on the treatment. 
  • New schedule in life, which can be harder to accommodate. 

It can also be expensive to stay in nursing homes to get treated for various chronic ailments. 

How To Prevent Dementia Associated Depression In Nursing Homes

Depression in nursing homes can be a myth or reality, depending on the steps you take. 

Suppose you were to treat your loved one for dementia from home. In that case, it can be painful and stressful for the patient and family members due to repeated travel, multiple medical appointments, regular supervision, and a lack of understanding of new symptoms. However, treating them at a nursing home gives the advantage of being supervised by health experts and quick solutions to new symptoms. 

Despite these advantages, dementia-associated depression seems to be mushrooming in nursing homes, and here are some ways to stay happy in your tough times. 

  • Exercise regularly. 
  • Enroll in supplemental therapies like music or animal therapies. 
  • Encourage family members to visit regularly. 
  • Discuss with the nursing home in charge of your queries and get them sorted. Many nursing homes maintain an open communication model to ensure their residents are happy and satisfied. 
  • Engage in more non-drug interventions and befriend other patients. 

All these tips work well for nursing home residents. Depression does not always need an antidepressant. It can be dealt with fundamental lifestyle changes in every environment the patient resides. 

As a family member of a nursing home resident, here are a few measures to reduce the depression of the patient. 

  • Perform an extensive review of the internal and external environments of the nursing home. Getting your loved one admitted to a random home isn’t healthy. 
  • Find out if the nurse-to-patient ratio at the nursing home is satisfactory. Depression builds up in residents when they are not cared for well or enough. Having a dedicated, reachable caretaker is a must and acts as a boon. 
  • Visit the resident regularly and seek opinions about experiences so far. Request for changes in room or roommate or treatment based on the need. 
  • Keep an eye on other non-drug therapies to boost the quality of life within the nursing home.  
  • Compare expected health outcomes with achieved health outcomes and discuss the gaps. Do not compare when it is too late. A weekly review works well. 

My American Nurse has presented how family members make little to no effort to check the resident’s wellbeing. As a result, the resident becomes exposed to home-acquired infections and low mental health. 


What Is The Average Life Expectancy Of Someone In A Care Home

The average stay of someone in a care home in the United States is 13 months. The average life expectancy after joining a nursing home is 2.2 years, and this can vary depending on the condition, age, and treatment provided. 

Final Thoughts

Nursing homes do not necessarily bring down the life expectancy or land residents in depressive states. The quality of the environment and employees’ engagement in caring for patients influence residents’ vulnerability to depression. 

Before you admit your loved one to a nursing home, conduct a background search and audit the wellbeing. Remember to keep stereotypes away and focus on the quality of service the nursing home can offer your loved one!


Recent Posts