As elderly people continue to get on in years, many of them will begin to need long term care services from skilled nursing facilities or even from hospice care workers. It has even been estimated that nearly three quarters of elderly people – those who are over the age of 65, to be more specific – will need long term care at some point in their lives. And this long term care can become necessary for a wide variety of reasons.
For one thing, physical instability can simply make it hugely difficult to live independently in any kind of safe way anymore. Falls are a real danger to elderly people living alone, and a new elderly person is treated for a fall in the emergency room for every 11 or seconds that pass here in the United States. Sometimes, even minor falls can cause serious injury, and for many an elderly person, infection becomes a real risk in the aftermath and during the recovery period from this fall. In even more tragic cases, these falls can all too easily result in death, especially when the elderly person in question is not able to get help immediately after the fall has taken place.
In addition to this, dementia is common among older people, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. For while there are more than 100 types of dementia currently diagnosed in the United States, Alzheimer’s makes up more than three quarters of these diagnoses. In fact, nearly 65% of all skilled nursing home patients will have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that can decline quite rapidly after the initial diagnosis.
And skilled nursing facilities and long term care centers have become more essential now than ever before. After all, the elderly population in this country is on the rise as the Baby Boomer generation ages. In fact, the population of elderly people in this world is expected to increase by a full 10% between the years of 2015 and 2050. By the time that we reach the year of 2050, elderly people will make up more than one fifth of the world’s population. And many of these people (if not the vast majority of them, for that matter) will be in need of some form of long term care.
Fortunately, long term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities are more prevalent now than ever before, a growth that has been seen all throughout the country. In fact, there are now more than 15,000 skilled nursing facilities throughout the United States alone, let alone in the rest of the world, as there are many other places where the typical skilled nursing facility has become common as well.
And the skilled nursing facility is often the safest place for elderly people living with dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease to be. After all, many wish to stay, at first, under the care of family members but these family members do not have the training or the resources to provide for the care of someone who has rapidly advancing dementia – and especially not around the clock, as often becomes nothing less than a necessity. For many people, providing this care is grueling and can even become quite impossible indeed.
The skilled nursing facility, on the other hand, is made to provide that kind of care. Skilled nursing facility employees can help residents with the day to day tasks of living and can provide as much support or as much independence in living as is really appropriate. For many people, this is ideal, as skilled nursing professionals can also monitor patients 24 hours of the day in the vast majority of these skilled nursing facilities. Not only will this ensure that the proper standards of care are being met, but such diligent nursing work will help to keep patients safe at all times as well – no matter what time of day or of night it might be.
At the end of the day, long term care facilities and skilled nursing facilities have become more important than ever here in the United States and throughout the world as a whole.