While all seniors may find a place for themselves in a nursing home or assisted living community, a resounding majority of these individuals are women. In fact, there can be anywhere from a 7:1 to a 10:1 ratio of women to men in most nursing homes. Due to this, choosing a home for a male senior can be a greater challenge than usual for loved ones searching for a care facility. It can often be more difficult to find a nursing home that fits a more masculine senior’s needs, as many find that nursing homes are geared toward women in their daily activities and overall atmosphere. However, there are certainly senior communities that are not female-focused. If you are searching for a care facility for your elderly male loved one, some questions to ask those running the community include:
- How many men are at the community and what is the ratio of male to female residents?
- What kinds of activities do you offer that a male resident might find enjoyable?
- Are there common areas for men to congregate and socialize?
- Ask a male member of the community what activities they enjoy at the community, if there are ample opportunities for them to interact with other males, and what their typical day at the community is like.
How to Approach a Male Loved One
Sometimes when you believe your father or other male loved one is having trouble living on their own and will do better in a nursing home or other senior care facility, the conversation you have with them can be hard to approach. Fortunately, there are some tips you can keep in mind when beginning this tough conversation. A few things that we recommend keeping in mind during this discussion include:
- Reassuring them that they will maintain their independence: Often, the top fear a senior has about a nursing home is that they will lose their sense of independence. However, while staff may help with cooking, cleaning, and other activities, seniors often can choose to spend their free time in ways that they enjoy. Many care facilities offer a variety of daily activities for seniors to partake in as well as social interaction, so that seniors can spend their free time in ways that are rewarding.
- Let them know that you will visit regularly: Many seniors may fear that they will be lonely at a care facility and will not have as much contact with their loved ones. It is necessary to let your loved one know that you and other family members will keep in contact with them as well as visit them regularly. This may also be the time to let them know that nursing homes provide great opportunities to make new friendships and form relationships.
- Inform them of all the activities and opportunities present at a senior living facility: Seniors may worry that they will become bored easily in a facility, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Residents at nursing homes and other facilities often have opportunities to participate in numerous social activities, community events, and leisure time amenities.
- Lay out a financial plan for them: Seniors can become scared that a nursing home or facility will drain all their finances. However, with financial planning, senior living can often come out to the same price as living at home.
Making the choice to consider moving your male loved one into a nursing home or care facility can be difficult, and even more challenging with the onslaught on female-dominated communities. However, there are ways to increase the chances that your male loved one feels welcome and comfortable as a resident. Above all, it is important to remember that this is about your loved one's wellbeing, and focusing on that during this discussion can help your family achieve a positive and beneficial outcome.
Understanding Different Levels of Care
One thing that families must consider during the process of finding an elder living facility that works for their male loved one is exactly what level of care he will need. There are several options when it comes to the level of service offered in these homes. Some offer medical professional staff members who can provide round-the-clock in-depth care, while others provide a more hands-off level of as-needed care that allows residents to retain some independence, something that can be particularly attractive to male residents.
The level of care provided by a facility can often be inferred from its name:
- Senior Communities: These often represent the facilities that offer the most independence to residents. Senior communities are environments for high-functioning, healthy elderly individuals that are interested in participating in social clubs and remaining fairly active.
- Continuing Care: These facilities, sometimes referred to as “step care” or “progressive care” homes, provide a range of services that cover independent living all the way to round-the-clock care. Generally, residents move in while they are still able to care for themselves to some degree, and the level of service is increased as the residents age and begin to require more attention.
- Assisted Living: These homes provide services that elderly residents may find helpful in their daily lives, such as housekeeping, cooking, help with getting around, distribution of medication, transportation, etc. While the residents in these facilities will have their own apartments, a higher level of care and monitoring is provided.
- Skilled Nursing: These facilities may look more like hospitals than apartment homes, as they provide the highest level of monitoring and care. Facilities that fall into this category employ nurses who are licensed to administer medical treatment. Many elderly individuals are admitted to these facilities in order to receive treatment for a specific issue, such as a broken bone or infection.
When considering your options, it will be important to bear in mind what your loved one needs, as well as to make plans for any potential future needs he may have. These facilities will range in cost as well as the various levels of care and services offered, so take your time as you search so that you can be sure your family's selection is the best possible option for everyone involved.