Nursing care poses terrifying threat

Sure, you may try to make light of the idea of being sent away to "a home" -- but, in all honesty, it's a pretty scary thought.

No one wants to give up their independence... lose touch with friends and family... or have to sacrifice many of life's pleasures once they walk through the doors at "Shady Pines."

But according to the latest research, there's something even more terrifying about the thought of ending up in a nursing care facility -- and there may be no better reason to take good care of your health NOW.

Because you'll want to do anything it takes to stay out of one of those places, once you get "up there" in years.

As it turns out, at least one out of four nursing home residents is colonized with dangerous bacteria, and it's creating a rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Research collected from 12 studies out of the Columbia University School of Nursing found that an average of 27 percent of a large sample of nursing home residents were colonized with a multi-drug resistant gram-negative bacteria (MDR-GNB).

This superbug causes the kind of infections that KILL -- like pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis.

It's not surprising, when you consider the risk factors for this superbug colonization are basically everything that describes folks (usually elderly) who end up in a nursing home: chronic disease, a history of recurrent hospitalization, increased contact with healthcare workers, using invasive medical devices like ports or catheters, having advanced dementia, being incontinent, or bed or wheelchair-bound.

To make matters worse, when you're in a nursing home, you're surrounded by a bunch of folks who fit the same bill -- and therefore are just as susceptible -- which is why ANY infection can spread like wildfire in one of those facilities.

Combine that with the widespread use of antibiotics the moment one of those folks gets the sniffles... and the prevalence of antimicrobials (a.k.a. hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps)... and all the "good" bacteria get wiped out, opening the door for superbugs to walk right in.

So, first thing's first, try to avoid being sent "away" at all costs. Take care of your health now... address the root causes of chronic disease... and keep your mind sharp and your body strong as long as you can.

Stay off antibiotics unless they're absolutely necessary, and wash your hands with good ol' soap and water.

Now, everybody needs a little help every now and then -- but as you get older, it's a pretty big leap to go from living independently to becoming dependent on healthcare workers and hooked up to wires and tubes 24/7.

If it gets to the point where you need a support system that's available around-the-clock, you'll have a much better chance of surviving -- and even thriving -- at an assisted living facility, where you can get a helping hand but you're not relegated to living with the sickest-of-the-sick.