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Why do elderly people go into nursing homes?

Dr. Arun S. Rao, MD
Geriatric Medicine Specialist

Elderly people often go into nursing homes because of the accumulation of multiple medical problems over time, resulting in frailty and dysfunctions in the ability to take care of themselves. Families worry about older adults with cognitive problems, memory problems and dementia, making it difficult for them to manage at home. These have impacts on day-to-day function, such as eating, bathing, dressing, managing medications and finances, and safety. Frequent falls are one of the top causes for people going into a nursing home because it's just felt to be unsafe. There might be trouble walking, and changes in strength or musculoskeletal changes that result in frequent falls. Incontinence has a significant impact in older adults, and that's something that also can stress families in terms of taking care of people. It's an issue that most people don't like to talk about. It has a lot of social stigma around it.

Anthony Cirillo
Geriatric Medicine Specialist

Surprisingly, residents tend to be admitted more for the chronic diseases—like heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes—than for slips and falls and hip problems. There are an increasing number of patients being admitted more for depression than dementia. Some of these diagnoses are preventable if we start taking better care of ourselves.

Who Moved My Dentures? 13 False (Teeth) Truths About Long-Term Care and Aging in America

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Who Moved My Dentures? 13 False (Teeth) Truths About Long-Term Care and Aging in America

Who Moved My Dentures dispels 13 different myths about long-term care and aging in America as told through human interest stories of people the author has met through his work as a healthcare...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.