Another day in self-quarantine at my house and with mom in lockdown in her nursing home. We found out from our hospice worker that mom has nausea/diarrhea, which is a really bad thing. All I can do is pray they keep her hydrated until it passes. Frustrating, to say the least. We will call relentlessly until we feel safe in the situation.
Before I delve into our topic o’ the day, allow me to share another quote from Shawshank
“I Have To Remind Myself That Some Birds Aren’t Meant To Be Caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”https://screenrant.com/best-quotes-from-the-shawshank-redemption/
This piece will delve into an uncomfortable topic…a very uncomfortable one. Before I get started, know my heart…I just care deeply for every senior. I also care deeply about caregivers. I know that every case is different and there are 10,000 extenuating circumstances that may play in to the situation.
should nursing homes REALLY be packed to the gills?
In my countless trips to nursing homes, I often find myself wondering “Why on Earth is he/she here? They should be at a senior center playing cards or at home helping a granddaughter learn to tie her shoes!” It happens far more often than you know. What can be done? Should something be done?
So, there seems to be something of a disconnect between the number of seniors who NEED to be in a nursing home and the number who are there. Some extenuating circumstances:
- Some have no available family and, perhaps, have been a fall risk.
- Some have no available family and are rehabbing and should get to return (and often do).
- Some have no available family and have made poor decisions.
- Some have no available family and get lost while driving.
- Some have no available family and are co-morbid with early dementia and another condition that requires care.
- Some just have no available family… Family is very important.
Helping a less healthy senior is hard. I am not judging you even a little bit for seeking the care in a nursing home. I am doing it with mom…I get it. I am mainly speaking to one smaller subset of folks here: You want to be able to help your parents/grandparents stay in their home…to “age in place”…but are having hard times working it out. I have some good news: you battle is joined.
- Your local Area Agency on Aging in your community may be able to help. Here is a link to find it. These folks are in (non-profit) business to help with just such an endeavor. The one I work for does many, many things to this end including installing grab bars in the bathroom, assisting with respite help and with in home services of all kinds. The deliver healthy meals to hundreds of thousands (millions?) nationwide. The most certainly can help.
- The Alzheimer’s Association should that be part of your aging in place concern. 1-800-272-3900 is their outstanding 24/7 hotline, staffed only by professionals. The association has a host of services including a wealth of information and strategies of care. They may also have respite options depending on funding as well as other in-home services. They are very helpful.
- Other condition-oriented organizations may help: the Stroke Association , the Diabetes Association , and the Heart Association. Other advocacy groups include: AARP / AMAC , and the Administration for Community Living. The Red Cross has many resources that can help too.
- Check also with state government. In Missouri, a significant part of the Lieutenant Governor’s roll is advocating and designing programs for seniors.
- Your church can be invaluable! If your church doesn’t have a senior ministry, I am very sorry. 🙁
- I would welcome your input here. I literally have dozens more I could list, all of which are available through your local Area Agency on Aging and/or senior center.
Is aging in place for everyone? Nope. It is too hard for some, unsafe for others. I get it. Obviously I get it…I am doing it using a nursing home to care for mom. Just remember, though, some birds aren’t meant to be caged…and it will be drab and empty when they are gone.
One other reason: We sure could use some of their wisdom as we navigate these CoronaVirus waters! They has seen and done sooooo much. We need seniors more than ever!