When people are making the decision about whether it’s time to consider nursing home care for a loved one, you might hear someone say something along the lines of “I love mama too much to put her in a nursing home.” However, in a recent TED Talk, psychologist Susan Pinker laid out a persuasive counter-argument to this notion. She showed how studies have been conducted that determined what factors have the greatest effect on extending a person’s life. You might think that having a better diet or stopping smoking might have had the greatest outcomes. In fact, the top two things that elongated life are having close relationships and social integration. Yes, that means that for all the good you might be doing by riding your exercise bike each morning, you might be just as well off by grabbing a cup of coffee and donut with your neighbor.
Granted, there are numerous benefits to staying in one’s home, but as a person ages, they often become increasingly isolated. According to the research, face-to-face interactions with other people, like you might get in a nursing home setting, incites brain activity that increases trust and pleasure while decreasing stress and pain.
At the Wilson Nursing Center, seniors are able to find a community of like-minded folks with whom they can share experiences. Not only can this type of socialization extend life, as the research suggests, but it can also bring a great level of joy to individuals in the later stages of their life. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the idea that loving someone deeply means keeping them at home. Maybe it’s time for you to consider nursing home care precisely BECAUSE you love mama that much.