When a loved one is no longer able to care for their own physical needs or has become weakened by a disease or injury, placing them in a rest home may be a great long-term care option.
People who live in rest homes, which are also called nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities, are usually adults over the age of 65, though younger adults may also stay during periods of illness or rehabilitation.
The Centers for Disease Control report there are over 16,000 rest homes in the United States caring for 1.5 million residents. Most rest homes offer both personal and medical care, but some also specialize in caring for seniors with Alzheimer's disease or providing hospice care.
When to Consider a Rest Home
Rest homes should be considered when a senior is no longer able to take basic physical care of him or herself, including tasks such as bathing, cooking or moving about the house without falling. There often comes a time when the care needed progresses beyond what in-home caregivers and children can manage on their own.
Some conditions require 24-hour care and regular medication monitoring or blood work. Rest homes are equipped to handle such needs while still giving residents their own private space within their room.
What to Expect from Rest Homes
Rest homes stand out from other senior housing options due to the level of care provided as well as the personal space available to those who live in it. Residents typically live in single or double-person rooms with private bathrooms.
There are usually central eating areas for those who are able to walk or be wheeled there, as well as activity rooms for fun and games. Many rest homes offer a regular schedule of activities and visiting entertainment to keep residents happy and engaged.
Benefits of Rest Homes
The staff at rest homes can perform basic medical care such as CPR and first aid, and are trained in body fluid safety. Every shift has registered or licensed nurses who can administer any medications required and offer medical care such as placing IVs or wound care.
Rest home staff are made up of compassionate professionals, experienced enough to handle any complications that arise. Having this quality of medical care so close is an advantage to seniors who have conditions that are unstable or require frequent treatment.
The Cost of Rest Homes
The cost of rest homes varies by region, but in general range between $100 to $200 per day. Medicare and Medicaid are available to seniors whose income or savings cannot pay for a rest home on their own.
Reimbursement rates are $234 for Medicare and $85 for Medicaid per day, which in total account for 76 percent of the payments for rest home care in the United States.
Due to the skill of nursing care available in rest homes, the cost is roughly twice that of other senior living options, which is likely why there is a higher rate of Medicare and Medicaid assistance for seniors in these facilities.
Choosing a Rest Home
The decision to move from one's own house to some form of senior housing is a difficult one. Seniors and their families should tour a variety of homes to find one that suits their tastes and in which they feel most comfortable.
Local senior assistance agencies and the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman program offer references for quality facilities. The right senior rest home will be a benefit to both the resident and their family.
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Written by senior housing staff writer.