Thursday, October 6, 2011

The places of no return

Too many traditional nursing homes, even in this modern era, resemble large hospitals and for many elderly people, seem more like a prison where rules abound, not like any home they would care to live in.  These accepted places make elderly people feel they are now being punished for not having a lot of money to afford help in their own home, and they feel like they have committed the crime of daring to grow old.  The older nursing homes, especially where people are housed two, or more to a room in order to make even more money for the owners, require residents to endure not only being uprooted from their long time home, but now are expected to share a small space with a virtual stranger, a small corner of a room.   People are not even paired up in those facilities according to compatibility but are housed together according to the space available and for the staffs’ convenience, especially if they have similar medical conditions.  Homes that pair more than one person to a room, all claim they want people to bring furniture and personal belongings from home, yet do little or nothing to really encourage this to happen.  In other words, imagine entering one of those facilities, where you now have to give up nearly everything you owned, be uprooted from your home and have the added insult of getting used to a new, usually cramped, living environment and a roommate you may or may not like.  The possibility of getting a roommate who has a TV or radio they want to blare late into the evening or having habits, you as a roommate, find hard to deal with is very high.  This can be a big blow to many elderly, especially those who are used to being very independent, to now have to face the reality of living in a nursing home.  With many hospitals discharging elderly patients early to nursing homes for therapy, it can be difficult to convince elderly patients to go to nursing homes for needed therapy.  As one lady once said; “you tend to go to one of those places and never come back.’