Jailed Convicts v. Seniors in Nursing Homes - Who has the better deal?

I already tweeted this great post from South Carolina Nursing Home Blog,  but it has been sticking with me.  All seniors have done is work hard their whole lives, age, and not have planned to need to spend $10,000 a month on the care they need to stay alive - and for that they get institutionalized in a nursing home.  Criminals steal, maim and murder and they get 3 square and rights as inmates that are closely monitored and enforced.  Nothing is so simple just to compare the two situations on their faces, but the question "Do we treat convicts better than our elderly?" deserves consideration.

Food for thought:

Let's put the seniors in jail, and the criminals in a nursing home. This way the seniors would have access to showers, hobbies,and walks, they'd receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc. and they'd receive money instead of paying it out.

They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance.

Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.

A guard would check on them every 20 minutes, and bring their meals and snacks to their cell. They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool, and education, simple clothing, shoes, slippers, P. J.'s and legal aid would be free, on request.

Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens.
Each senior could have a P. C., T. V., Radio, and daily phone calls.

There would be a board of directors, to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct, that would be strictly adhered to.

The "criminals" would get cold food, be left all alone, and unsupervised.
Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week.

Live in a tiny room, and pay $5000.00 per month and have no hope of ever getting out. Justice for all.


Best Nursing Homes Ranked 2010

 US News and World Reports has ranked the best nursing homes in America for 2010.  Unfortunately, not an single one in the Top 12 is in New Jersey.  However, the data gathered to produce the Honor Roll of Nursing Homes is all available online for you to search rankings of all senior care facilities in your area.  There are reports on over 15,500 facilities including nursing homes, assisted living, independent living and continuing care communities.

Thank you to Elder Law Prof Blog for bringing this to my attention.

Compare Nursing Homes

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The Federal Health and Human Services Agency, which administers Medicare and Medicaid, has a fabulous Nursing Home Compare Tool.   The Tool has detailed information and ratings about every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in the country (a actual good use of federal tax dollars in my opinion).  

You can search for nursing homes by name or geography.  The search results are then rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars (with 5 being the highest).  You can compare up to 3 nursing homes side by side with detailed information on the facilities, staffing, health inspections, and quality measures.

A search within 10 miles of me shows 20 nursing homes.  Of those, the following 5 facilities have an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars, demonstrating that they are much above average: