I just finished reading two threads about problems in assisted living/nursing homes. In one the poster's mother had a room mate whose husband visits all day every day, basically forcing her from her room in search of some privacy. Unfortunately she ends up in the lobby, no privacy there either.
In the second dad wants to move mom and himself into a rental unit because he is going bonkers staring at the walls all day in assisted living, refusing to participate in activities, while at night having to endure the noise from the adjacent laundry room.
Many of you mention moving to retirement homes that are like moving into the Ritz. Those places exist for those who can afford them,(and they seem to be geared toward younger, higher functioning residents) but the reality, at least where I live, is that most facilities have changed very little over the past 30 or so years. One nursing home nearby has been upgraded recently and is held up as the new standard of care in the province. I haven't toured it since the renovations but checking it out online I can tell it's still not the Ritz, lurking in the background is the (necessary) institutional flavour common to all of them. The menus seem to offer tasty items, but I wouldn't want to live on the endless repetition of cafeteria style choices. Older buildings were not built with privacy in mind, so sitting in the lobby is still commonplace. Indeed, staff like to congregate immobile residents in one place so they can keep an eye on them more easily. And the activities list always looks impressive until you understand that it is mostly boring repetition and spin (eg, brain games is really just a printout of a word search found on the internet). Bingo anyone?
The unfortunate truth is that even in the best places somebody has to be stuck in those less than desirable rooms, and that unless you can afford a private room your roommate can make life h*ll. JessieBelle stated it so well, "So many of the assisted living facilities are like college dorms or hotels. Unless you engage in the activities or watch TV, there's not really a lot to do except to sit around and wait for God."