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Traditionally, nursing homes have provided support for seniors who can no longer care for themselves at home. Support might range from low-level care (help with eating meals, dressing, showering etc.) to high-level care (24-hour nursing care). Over the years, lifestyle based alternatives to nursing homes have emerged, such as retirement villages, which may suit a healthier, active lifestyle. The major shortcomings with retirement villages is a lack of care and support. If you are planning for the future, and wondering about your best options, consider the following as an introduction to the pros and cons of nursing homes.

A nursing home may provide an environment where nursing and medical care is on hand 24 hours a day. This may be a great option for some seniors, and obviously essential in some cases. As such, a nursing home may be a good option for those with dementia or other physical conditions that mean they are unable to move around freely. A nursing home will in general provide all meals, will help bathe, feed and dress residents, and may provide facilities such as lounges, and bring in services such as hairdressers.

A nursing home is about shared accommodation: shared facilities, and in some cases, shared rooms. That means having to get used to living with a large group of people, which many see as the primary shortcoming of a nursing home. You may also need to be income tested to obtain a spot and/or provide a bond and ongoing service fees.

Nursing homes may vary considerably from one to the next, and there are some retirement villages and communities now that do provide higher levels of care. Your best bet therefore is to research all of your options. That way you can be clear on your choices, and find the best aged care for your own circumstances.