The 2020 COVID-19 numbers in nursing homes have caused alarm to many older adults. There’s a reason they’re thinking twice about going into such facilities.
According to news reports, at least 70,000 nursing home residents and staff died of COVID-19 in August 2020. These numbers do not only cover nursing homes but also assisted living facilities across the U.S. as well.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 risks increased with age. Data from 2020 showed that older adults were more at risk of being readmitted for the virus. Those who also have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, Chronic Kidney Disease, and Diabetes were more prone to be reinfected. Those who are obese and were at risk of heart failure also tend to get readmitted.
In the same year, the CDC also reported 78% of COVID-19-related deaths were among adults aged 65 and above. And while the virus chooses no age, people who have comorbidities are more at risk.
This is why more and more families are hesitant to send their elderly to nursing homes, where social distancing could be a challenge.
The older you are, the more you are at risk
The American Association of Retired Persons says nursing homes are more vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 because physical contact cannot be avoided between residents and staff. There is also a shortage of personal protective equipment or PPE, making staff more at risk of COVID.
Here’s are other reasons why nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are more prone to the virus:
· Communal living
If you live in a nursing home, you will live together with other older adults. You will do the same activities together. It is difficult to keep social distancing because facilities are often understaffed. You will also share things with other adults. You will also move around the same space and have no choice but to interact with each other. If you’re lucky enough, you have your room. But oftentimes, elders share rooms with others.
· Underlying medical conditions
Older adults in nursing homes are usually 65 years old above. They have underlying medical conditions that make them more prone to contract the virus. Not being able to observe safety protocols in such common facilities will put you more at risk.
Most nursing homes are doing their best to make the facility a safe space for seniors. The government has also announced guidelines on how to control the spread of the virus in care facilities. Yet, they cannot help that some retirees are now considering buying their own retirement homes.
Should you buy your own property?
If you talk to a real estate agent or realtor, they’ll tell you that most older adults buy their own homes and feel satisfied with them. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, 78.7% of households of adults 65 years old and above own their homes.
This shows how seniors are confident in living alone. Others who are still capable live on their own. Others hire their nurses or geriatric managers who assist them daily.
If you are still torn whether to enter a nursing facility or to get your own home after your retirement, here are things you should consider:
· Which is worth the money: your own property or your needs being attended to?
While buying a home is a lot more affordable this pandemic, you also have to provide for your needs on your own. Aside from buying your property, you also have to buy your furniture and appliances. You also have to maintain your home. You have to hire help or your nurse should you not be able to move around. You have to support your daily needs such as food and medicines.
While you also have to pay nursing homes at a high price, at least you won’t stress yourself attending to your needs. Some people will assist you in your daily needs.
· Which do you prefer: living with other people or living alone?
Are you comfortable living with other seniors who you do not know at all? Are you comfortable entrusting your life to people you do not know? Are you okay with sharing space with others? If yes, then a nursing home is for you.
But, if you value your personal space so much, you might want to consider buying your property. If you prefer doing things on your own, then independent living is for you.
At the end of the day, it is your decision. You deserve to rest after years of hard work. And, it is your hard-earned money that you are going to use. Make sure you decide based on your needs and your desires. Make sure you are comfortable, convenient, and, most of all, safe.