Here’s Why So Many People Want to Avoid Nursing Homes

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Unhappy senior man
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Nursing homes provide vital care to seniors who struggle to take care of themselves. But very few people want to end up in such a facility, according to a new survey.

A recent Gallup and West Health poll found that 70% of people in the U.S. say they would be very or somewhat uncomfortable moving into a nursing home even if they were unable to provide for themselves. In addition, 61% said the same about moving a loved one into a nursing home.

Why are Americans so reluctant to move into nursing homes? Here are the top reasons respondents gave to Gallup.

1. Concern about quality of care

Nursing Home /

Respondents who said this is a primary reason that they would not want to go into a nursing home: 70%

Americans are not impressed with the level of care they see in nursing homes.

In the survey, nursing homes earned an average grade of “D+” from survey respondents when it comes to quality of care. Overall, 36% gave nursing homes a “D,” and another 6% gave nursing homes a grade of “F. ”

Just 1% gave nursing homes a grade of “A.”

2. Too expensive/cost

An old man holding an empty wallet
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Respondents who said this is a primary reason that they would not want to go into a nursing home: 49%

Nearly half of respondents — 49% — said cost is a major reason they are reluctant to turn to nursing homes for care.

You can expect to spend about $276 a day — or $8,390 per month — for a semi-private room in a nursing home, according to 2023 estimates from the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. For a private room, the median cost nationwide jumps to $315 a day, or $9,584 per month.

3. Concern about effect on mental/emotional health

Senior woman in nursing home /

Respondents who said this is a primary reason that they would not want to go into a nursing home: 45%

In the survey, 45% of respondents said they are uncomfortable about entering a nursing home because of the potentially negative impact that such a facility could have on their mental or emotional health.

Other reasons people want to avoid nursing homes

A worried senior black woman sits on her couch
Monkey Business Images /

Here are some additional reasons that survey respondents said they would prefer to steer clear of nursing homes:

  • Loss of independence: 34%
  • Do not want to die in a nursing home: 28%
  • Concerns about physical safety: 27%
  • Loss of privacy: 21%
  • Other: 4%
  • There is not a facility in the area where I want to live: 3%

For more on nursing homes, check out “5 Things You Should Know About Nursing Homes.”

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