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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Keeping Your Elderly Loved One Safe in a Nursing Home

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The concept of a joint family has been around in India from as far back as one can think of. It's only from the last generation that the nuclear family has finally made its way in the Indian social system, and not without coming under the scanner for a lot of 'preconceived' notions.

Conventional Indian families (read joint families) have criticized the concept of nuclear families in India, blaming the family members of blindly aping western social practices and ticking such Indians off as people who are not ready to take care of their extended family, including their parents, and shirking responsibility.

Of course being born and brought up in a nuclear family and living on my own now in a city where I have no relative at all, I have never felt it a selfish or easy choice. Sure it is important to adapt to the changing times, and our lifestyle and work requirements have taken us away from our families for some time now. But I still do not consider this a situation where someone can point a finger and say we are shirking responsibilities.

In Indian families, you see, even if you live in a nuclear family, your parents almost always come and stay with you once they are retired or old. It is not the norm to let your parents stay on their own, and letting them choose to live in a home for the elderly will almost certainly make you the black sheep, one who will be the center of gossip everywhere.

My parents are retired, my parents are old, but they are living on their own in a very happy and independent way, in a different city from mine. I personally do not know anyone whose parents live in a home for the elderly, and I don't even know of anyone who may know someone whose parents or a family member has lived in a home for the elderly. So it was quite interesting for me to read this guest post, again by the wonderful Landon Biehl, and see how convenient and nice it can actually be for senior citizens if they wish to stay in a special home.

To each his or her own, but if you are planning to look for a special home for any elderly member of your family, please make sure you go through this post to find the best and safest place for that loved person to be.

Guest Post
When daily tasks become difficult and living alone proves to be too dangerous, it may be time to help your elderly loved one make a decision about his or her future. For many seniors, moving to a nursing home is a common next step. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1.5 million residents live in nearly 16,000 nursing homes across the United States. Nursing homes provide a variety for residents with all kinds of needs from medication monitoring to memory care to occupational or speech therapy. While moving an elderly relative to a nursing home can be a stressful and overwhelming journey, there is also a sense of comfort and relief knowing that your loved one will be cared for by knowledgeable staff.

Choosing the Right Facility
Selecting the most suitable elder care facility can sometimes be an arduous process accompanied by a range of emotions from relief, grief, guilt, and worry. The best way to approach the important step in your loved one’s life is knowing that a nursing home facility will offer the 24 hour care he or she needs. While the majority of the nation’s elder care facilities provide excellent services and have high ratings, some have bad reputations based on questionable and unsafe care. Here are things to consider when choosing the right facility:
  • Visit Several Homes: Before you settle on one place, you may find yourself visiting numerous care facilities. Ask for a thorough tour and take notes. Pay attention to things that are important to you such as cleanliness or interactions between staff and residents.
  • Ask Questions: You should always feel welcome to ask as many questions as you wish. If you don’t feel as if your questions are answered or if the care facility won’t answer certain questions, that may be a red flag.
  • Revisit: If you have narrowed down your choices, visit the homes again. Make sure all of your questions are answered and you are comfortable having your loved one reside in the facility. Whether planned activities, cleanliness, or a personable staff is your biggest priority, the elder care facility should always be safe.
Assuring Safety
Nursing homes are diverse and serve a variety of needs, but each facility should value quality care and safety. Elders can be a vulnerable demographic prone to elder abuse and at risk of being severely injured in the smallest of slips, trips, or falls. While it’s likely you can’t be with your loved one every day, you can help to make sure his or her nursing home is a safe place to reside. Here are some things to look for when you visit your loved one.
  • Restraints: Are wheelchair or bed restraints properly used? Do personal care attendants or nursing staff use gait belts when assisting a resident?
  • Safety Equipment: Do staff properly use safety equipment such as lifts and encourage residents to use walkers and safety equipment in areas like the bathroom?
  • Monitoring: Are residents closely monitored and accounted for? Are medications and other medical needs kept and locked up at the nurse’s station? Do nurses appear to chart regularly and seem organized in order to avoid medication mix ups?
If, upon visiting your loved one, he or she exhibits signs of elder abuse (such as bruising, unexplained injuries, or changes in mental or emotional behavior), his or her safety may be compromised. In order to keep your loved one as safe as possible, don’t hesitate to speak up and if there are no changes, talk with local authorities or someone who can help you protect your elder.

Thank you so much Landon for the article and for sharing it here with us.

Landon resides in sunny North Carolina and is an advocate for safety, especially when it comes to texting and driving. Landon is a recent graduate from UNCW and enjoys spending time at the beach, as well as becoming informed of new technology. He loves to run, kayak, as well as surf.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta