Happier At Home:

Yesterday, I noticed a post on Facebook about a gentleman living at home after living in a nursing home. He was thrilled to be spending time with his dog. The pictures reminded me why living at home is often better than living in a nursing home or other facility. People don’t get to live with their pets in a nursing home. I have always loved animals, especially dogs. If I had been unable to live at home growing up, I wouldn’t have had such a strong bond with my dog. Lowell was a great friend to me. He was a part of my family for ten years.

If I were forced to live in a facility, a pet would be just one of many things I’d miss out on. I would miss choosing my meals, going out to restaurants, and baking Christmas cookies. I wouldn’t be able to go to the movies or out for ice cream in the summer. Life wouldn’t be the same without access to the community. I wouldn’t like to be stuck somewhere, unable to leave whenever I wanted.

Most of all, I’d miss being able to see my friends and family. I enjoy living in my hometown, where I share an apartment with my best friend. I wouldn’t feel like I belonged in a nursing home. Nursing homes aren’t meant for adults in their twenties. The other residents would be old enough to be my grandparents.

Unfortunately, data shows that many people residing in nursing homes aren’t elderly. 14.5 percent of New York State’s 106,931 nursing home patients are younger than 65, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data from 2010. 22,248 individuals out of the total population formally expressed a desire to live in regular housing. In addition, there are approximately 6,000 young persons under the age of 21 who reside in nursing homes in the United States. People aged 31 to 64 made up 14% of the nursing home population in 2010, according to an NPR Investigative Unit review of government statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services.

As someone who has Cerebral Palsy, living in a nursing home is one of my greatest fears. People with disabilities should be able to live wherever they wish. Nobody would think of putting non-disabled adults in a nursing home without considering other options first. Why is it acceptable for adults with disabilities to live in nursing homes when there are options available that allow us to live independent lives?


Shapiro, Joseph. “Youth In Nursing Homes Seek Alternative Care.” NPR, NPR, 9 Dec. 2010, http://www.npr.org/2010/12/09/131916238/youth-in-nursing-homes-seek-alternative-care.

Shapiro, Joseph. “A New Nursing Home Population: The Young.” NPR, NPR, 9 Dec. 2010, http://www.npr.org/2010/12/09/131912529/a-new-nursing-home-population-the-young. 

“Younger People Are Increasingly Trapped in Nursing Homes.” Center For Disability Rights New York, Center For Disability Rights New York, 27 June 2011, https://cdrnys.org/blog/news/younger-people-are-increasingly-trapped-in-nursing-homes/.

1 comment

  1. Nicely said. I have a friend who is 57 with CP who may be facing having to move to a nursing home, after living independently for 30 years, because he can’t find aides to help him for a few hours each day.

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