Younger Nursing Home Residents

More nursing homes are offering rehabilitation services to people that need help recovering from injury or surgery.  These residents are not always elderly, in fact many are much younger than you would expect to ever see in a nursing home.  In December of 2010, a study determined that about 14% of all new admissions for long term care to nursing homes is people in the age rage of 31 to 64.  This group is considered ‘working age’ and is currently one of the fastest growing populations in skilled care facilities.

The reasons for this trend has not been made totally clear by any study.  A variety of issues have been cited by the people that have entered facilities in this age range – lack of funds for home care, lack of family, and lack of options. People with all sorts of disabilities have been admitted to nursing homes while they are still under the expected age, often because they have no information on alternatives.

Sometimes the young residents are coerced into living in a skilled care facility by doctors or nurses that mention the person may be a burden on their family. While this may be true, all options should be made available to the disabled person before a decision is made to enter a home.

Occasionally, it is just easier for a younger resident to live in a nursing home long term.  They have nurses, aides, and dietitians in one building instead of needing to make many trips to different facilities or schedule home visits from several different agencies.

Short term rehabilitation residents are usually on a different floor or wing in a skilled facility than long term residents.  Most of the time these short term individuals will not be seen mingling with long term residents.  The administrative staff may try to make the rehab wing or rooms look more inviting than those on the long term units – this is because more money is earned from short term rehabilitation than long term.  Everyone deserves dignity and respect, but even in the nursing home business and money commands even more respect than age and wisdom.

Something interesting to note about younger residents is that they are often more demanding than the elderly.  This is usually a reaction to being unable to do things on their own.  Many elderly have come to terms with losing the ability to do certain things for themselves gradually, while a young person that has suffered a stroke or an injury has had no time to come to grips with the loss. Their patience will wear thin much faster than some older residents.  When dealing with younger residents that lose their temper often, constantly remind yourself how you would feel if tomorrow you were in their position – because in most cases, that is how they ended up in a home.  Unexpectedly, without warning, and perhaps even against their will.