My father's side of the family has a history of Alzheimer's, and although he has been scared of early-onset all my life he hasn't shown signs yet. Regardless, he has told me many times that if he begins to show signs, I should not hesitate to put him in a nursing home. I feel that in his opinion, the nursing home will be preferable to a live-in nurse or other home care. I have not looked into them myself, but I think that standards of care have improved in the last decades, and we live in enough of a litigious society that there is less scope for abuse.
This website seems to be a reliable source of information on abuse and prevention.
The previous posts many many good points. I have just finished reading a book by Susan Jacoby titled Never Say Die. It is an extremely sobering book, especially in its discussion of the "old old" -- people who live to be older than 85. Jacoby's book basically contends that we hugely underestimate how difficult conditions can be for the elderly.
One point that becomes clear from reading Jacoby's book is that conditions in nursing homes often depend very much on the conditions of the various residents. Alzheimer's Disease is a highly unpleasant experience for just about everyone in any setting. A typical day in the life of an Alzheimer's patient in any facility is likely to be pretty depressing.
Having been in a number of nursing homes over the years (as a visitor and family member), I can only say from such experience that such places, while valuable, are often pretty sad.
There are a variety of nursing home types, and levels of care. Some patients need intensive care on a daily basis because of advanced age or medical conditions that require it. Other nursing homes are more like assisted living communities, with organized activities, recreation, regular visitation hours and geriatric-specific nutrition. So there perhaps is no such thing as a typical day for any one patient. You will also find huge disparities in care based on the cost of the facility, and the quality of the personnel who work there.
That's going to depend greatly on the specific nursing home and the type of nursing home. Some nursing homes provide graduated living. This means that residents start out in a small home and can move into an apartment or even a hospital suite as they age. Residents living in a small home would experience a day similar to anyone else living independently.
Most nursing homes provide some or all of the resident's meals. Most also offer activities throughout the day. These activities aren't usually compulsory, but rather something residents are invited to attend.
The routine of living in a nursing home can also vary depending on the person's needs. For example, my great aunt lives in a nursing home and her day begins with a nurse coming to help her get dressed. Not all residents in the nursing home need this kind of care. It really depends on the patient and the facility.
This is such a broad question that it's difficult to generalize. There are different types of "nursing home" facilities and different levels and types of care provided within those facilities, all of which contribute to a wide variety of "typical day" patterns.
All nursing home facilities are going to provide room and board for residents. This will include help with personal cares, laundry, housekeeping, and activities throughout the day or week to keep the residents physically and mentally active. Residents may have a private room or may share a room; furniture may include personal items or all belong to the facility.
In some places, meal times are set by the facility and all residents eat in the dining room at those times. In other facilities, residents have more control over when they choose to eat, so there may be a range of time when a certain meal is available and residents eat as they wish.
All nursing home facilities will control the administration of medications needed by residents. Most have medical doctors who make periodic visits to assess residents' health and changing needs.
Nursing homes may or may not provide therapies of various sorts for residents who need therapy as they recover from illnesses or surgeries.