How does a nursing home compare to a typical Adult Family Home in the Kenmore area?

One of the biggest differences between a nursing home and an Adult Family Home is that an Adult Family Home is limited, by law, to having no more than six residents in care at any one time. It’s not a limit on the number of rooms, windows, doors or bathrooms, either. It’s simply the number of residents who are being cared for at any one time.

A nursing home, on the other hand, can be much larger. It can house many, many more residents, and this has an impact on the type of care available in a nursing home compared to an Adult Family Home. If a home has, say, one hundred residents, it’s a difficult chore, indeed, for any one care giver on staff to become intimately familiar with all of the residents. They likely will be familiar with some of them, as some residents typically will require more care than others, and therefore will be more familiar to care giver staff over time.

In an Adult Family Home, with only six residents, it takes no more than a few days for any one care giver to learn a lot about each resident under care. A few hours studying the paperwork and meeting with each resident will bring them into the position where they can service their needs easily on a person by person basis. For example, let’s say a resident in a nursing home has a sugar level problem at 3am. The wake staff comes to see what is happening and will know, if she has been there any length of time as a full time care giver, that this resident is actually a type 1 diabetic, and that there is therefore a very simple solution to the resident’s low sugar level. A Sweet is pulled from her pocket, and the problem is solved. Now, consider the same situation in a nursing home. With a hundred – or perhaps many more than that – residents to take care of, it’s unlikely a care giver will know for sure the medical condition of the resident. More likely, she will have to at least do a quick look up of the resident’s medical history and condition before making any decision.

An Adult Family Home can offer a highly tailored diet

With only six residents to care for, an Adult Family Home is – and it is designed to be this way – far more capable of giving each resident their own personal choice in meals all day long. Being more like a family, it’s easier – though not always 100% practical, as anyone who has raised a family will attest to – to provide a lot of flexibility to each person in the household. Mind you, it’s not the same in this respect: residents of an Adult Family Home don’t generally wander in and out of the kitchen to graze like my children did and still do, but rather, can request certain ingredients, dishes and perhaps most importantly, request that certain things are not an ingredient in their meals. A total gluten-free diet is hard to arrange for one individual, but requests around organic, additives, sugar, fat free, salt or fat, are usually manageable on a case by case basis.

As we age, we know that one by one, our faculties tend to diminish. For most things, there is a viable solution. We begin to use reading glasses, a more comfortable armchair, a car with great back support when we drive, a softer bed – or a firmer one for some folks – not to mention a variety of medications, exercises, therapies and people to make life more comfortable while all of our sense fade a little. Well, we do become wiser as we age, hopefully, and that wisdom helps us know better what works for us and what does not. At eighteen years of age, lunch can be two Mars bars and two cans of cola, but at seventy, that can hurt us. Well, it wasn’t healthy at eighteen years of age, either, but our bodies are less able to cope with junk food the older we get. By the time we walk into an Adult Family Home at say seventy years of age, we likely have an very good idea of what we like to eat, what hurts us, what we want to avoid. An Adult Family Home gives us the perfect opportunity to live the food life we want.

For me, I could eat a lot healthier than I do, but I cannot cook half the stuff I like. If I were in an Adult Family Home, I’d take full advantage of being cooked for, and ask for those things I can’t cook but I know are wonderful for my health.

An Adult Family Home gives you the full family experience

Have you ever checked into a hotel and felt that isolated feeling? I don’t mean it in a bad way. In fact, when I traveled a lot for business, my favorite part was checking into the hotel after a day of meetings and work. You could go into the room, and flop onto the bed and relax for the evening in perfect solitude and privacy. When I arrived home after a week of that travel and ‘privacy’, I was ready for the loving and personal interaction with my family again. An Adult Family Home offers the same kind of ‘connection’. You live in a house, not a hospital, a hospice of a hotel. There is a kitchen, a front yard and everything else a regular family home has, but with professional care givers, not your adult children and grandchildren. So, you might say, it’s still not family. Well, many people move into an Adult Family Home for that very reason: It’s not family. Often, it became too much work for a senior’s adult children to take care of them directly, and so, the decision was made to move into an Adult Family Home. Professional, full time care givers take the place of multi-taxing and overstretched adult children living in their own home.

An Adult Family Home is designed to retain all of the benefits of living with one’s own family, yet provide a host of other advantages: Full time care, usually retired and experienced registered nurses, round the clock monitoring and a residence that is custom-remodeled to be an Adult Family Home.

Come back next week. We have more to talk about!