The Daily Schedule: Real Life at Nursing Homes

nursing homesGet a taste of life at skilled nursing facilities from this sample daily nursing home schedule.

Ask people, regardless of their age, "What do you do?" and you're sure to get an answer based on what they spend the majority of their time doing. That's because we identify with the way we spend the hours in our day. This is true of residents at nursing homes as well. In fact, daily schedules are so central to our identity, it's important that you take them into consideration as you search through nursing homes for your loved one. To help you get an idea of how days at skilled nursing facilities unfold, we've talked with multiple sources to get you the inside scoop. Read on for a sample daily schedule at a typical nursing home.

Life in Nursing Homes, Hour by Hour

There is no single daily schedule followed by nursing homes across the country. But a typical schedule will always center around a full night's sleep and three-meal schedule, with additional free time and optional activities or services. Here is a daily schedule similar to those followed by nursing homes nationwide:

7:00 – Vital checks, medication, and morning personal care
8:00 – Breakfast
9:00 – Optional activities (art, music, exercise class, etc.) or health services
10:30 – Scheduled walks with certified nursing assistants (CNAs)
12:00 – Lunch
1:00 – Optional activities (classes, outings, etc.) or health services
2:30 – Afternoon naps or free time
4:00 – Optional program offerings (special performances, speakers, workshops, etc.)
5:30 – Dinner
6:30 – Showers, medication, and evening personal care
8:00 – Bed time
Throughout the night – vitals checks, repositioning (when needed), medical staff on-call

Variations for Different Residents at Nursing Homes

As you can see, the schedule allows for much variation between residents depending on their tastes and abilities. More active residents can benefit from a nursing home's various activities, possibly taking an exercise class, completing an art project, taking an outing to the grocery store and watching a local dance troupe presentation, all before dinner!

Alternately, those nursing home residents with more reserved tendencies can opt to spend much of their time in their rooms, enjoying leisurely afternoons sitting in the nursing home garden, napping or visiting with family members. And those with severe medical needs can be transported and assisted by staff for meals, programs and services, enjoying the nursing home's social environment even if they are too weak to actively participate.

Find Nursing Homes Near You

The search for nursing homes can seem daunting when you consider the number of options available today! There may be dozens if not over a hundred nursing homes in your direct area, depending on your location. To help you narrow down your choices, we've created a detailed list of nursing homes across the country that you can sort by location. Just fill out the Elder Care Search box at the top of this page and you'll be directed to in-depth information on skilled nursing facilities so you can see which ones might work for you. You may also call the toll-free number listed above for free personalized help with your search! From all of us here at Guide to Nursing Homes, we wish you the best as you search for that ideal nursing home for your loved one.