Nursing Home Like Home

Nursing Home Like Home
By:  Wendy Ray

Jackson, MO -- Nursing homes don't always feel like home to the people living there, but a new concept called "cultural change" is giving Jackson Manor in Jackson, Missouri a whole new look.

Marguerite Nigra is new to Jackson Manor, but it hasn't taken her long to get adjusted. "There's my neighbor," she says as she walks down the hall. Marguerite lives on the remodeled wing of the nursing home called Blueberry Lane. It's designed to feel like a community, not a healthcare setting. "We're trying to make this feel like you're walking down a street, outside. Residents have their own mailbox, then they walk into their own apartments," social services director Marlene Wilson says.

"Cultural change" involves centering everything around the resident, including mealtime. "The resident comes into the dining room during a set period, they come in at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. During that set period they get to choose their meal from the menu for the following day. If they don't like the items on the menu they get something else," Wilson says. That flexibility allows residents to be able to eat when they want to, not when they're told to. The changes have made the transition to a nursing home easier for Marguerite. "I think it's pretty. My daughter fixed everything. This was my bed and everything I had at home," she says.

Residents also have community meetings and block parties. Jackson Manor hopes to have the other wings done soon. A nursing home in Desloge, Missouri has made similar renovations.