How to be an old person


Accused of being ignorant

Recently a guest commented on a hub I had written concerning my book and accusing me of writing a book on a subject I know nothing about. I don't take those comments lightly and having worked various traditional nursing homes for many years, I beg to differ that I know nothing of this subject. The person commenting claimed to be a consultant for nursing homes and she said I just didn't know anything about the regulations nursing homes face. All I can say to that is: 'But I am familiar with the stupid regulations in place.' In fact, I dare say anyone working nursing homes, in any capacity, is quite familiar with the huge laundry list of regulations in place. Some regulations are reasonable, some are entirely insane and nearly impossible to adhere to.


Traditional nursing homes are depressing

My book, unlike many others, does not offer useless 'expert advice' telling the elderly, or anyone else, what the elderly need. I don't do that because for one thing, the elderly person usually already knows what they need. Those who are alert and oriented certainly do not need me, or anyone else, to dictate to them what they need. If you want to know what they need, try asking them and not some research board from the medical field or some useless college think tank research department. I say this because in our modern era, people are living longer than anytime in history. Since this is a new field, well, there simply is not enough data to understand a lot of things concerning the elderly. Nursing homes have been around for quite some time though. Traditional ones are based on the Medical Model. Why? Well, purely for staff convenience and not much more. The Medical Model is because when we are old we all need extensive medical care? When we are old we need nurses hovering over us, doctors trying to over medicate us to control us so we are not a nuisance to staff? Possibly for all of the above reasons, but those reasons are depressing and living day to day like that is super depressing.


Traditional nursing homes can be rediculous

A traditional nursing home usually has nursing stations in the center of the hallway on each wing. Why? Plopped in the center of the hallway makes it super difficult to maneuver around, if I'm old. I would find it serving no use in this location other than a huge nuisance making it an obstacle course for my wheel chair or walker or cane to get around the hall. The nursing station, in my way, is normally equipped with high counters where nurses look down at residents. Already the hierarchy has been established with the fact as an elderly person, I now sit lower if I'm in my wheel chair. I've seen nurses leaning over that damned counter saying: "What?" to an elderly person because they cannot hear them from so far above. Well then, leave the ivory tower and squat in front of the wheel chair to the same level that person is sitting in. Is that so hard? What should we do with nursing stations? How about moving nurses to an office, out of the hallway and out of the place where elderly people need to get around? Get rid of the obstacle course. I don't know many houses and apartments where old people live, that have a nursing station in the living room. So if this 'nursing home' is my home, what is it doing there?

There are 'regulations' concerning abuse in nursing homes. Do those regulations ensure that no one will ever be abused? What do you think? Since most of us know abuse can take many forms, no bruises on a person does not mean abuse never takes place. For example, if I'm an elderly person in a nursing home and I've complained about my care, what is to stop my caregiver from taking extra time to answer my requests now? What's stopping the caregiver from maybe handling me a bit rougher when I need help? The answer: Nothing. Not one damned regulation on Earth is going to prevent psychological abuse. What does it mean for that victim? It means I'm not going to complain again for fear of some sort of retaliation.

I've seen medication being dispensed to all residents of a nursing home at exactly the same time each morning. Usually breakfast time because most residents are together, in one place, at the same time. I don't know about you, but my doctor prescribes medication and the pharmacy has directions on the bottle as to when it should be taken. Mine never says: "To be taken in a large group for the convenience of nursing staff." They've never heard of medicine cabinets? I have one in my home, why don't nursing homes have one in each bathroom? I was once asked: "What about the elderly who may get into another person's medicine cabinet?" There's an amazing invention called a padlock and key to prevent another from getting into those cabinets by accident. When nurses push those med carts up and down a hall, or leave them, unattended at the nursing station, what is to prevent an elderly person from helping themselves to the cart?

HIPPA laws a joke in nursing homes

HIPPA laws are in place to ensure that our medical records and conditions are basically no one's business unless we give permission to make them their business. Now let's say I'm in a traditional nursing home and I share a room with a complete stranger. There are two to a room because the owners make much more money with this arrangement. You know, twice the capacity, twice the pay rate. Now the stranger room mate's family come to visit. My doctor or even a nurse happens to be talking to me about my medical business. The room has a mere curtain dividing it. Do you suppose that curtain keeps strangers from hearing all about me? Hardly the case.

The fact that I now have some stranger in my room I'm paying upwards of at the very least, $1500 a week for, is disrespectful to me as a person anyway. How many of us invite strangers to reside in our bedrooms at home, to be able to observe us in all modes of undress? Probably not many of us are doing that.


What is the answer?

In my book, traditional nursing homes run on the Medical Model should not exist in our modern society. Culture Change nursing homes should be the norm and not the exception. These nursing homes actually ask residents what they want and need and staff actually listens to them. How refreshing. Just because I'm not rich, yet I'm making a nursing home owner filthy rich, does this mean I am not allowed to age with dignity and respect? No, I should have as much rights and as nice a home as richer elderly people experience. After all, every single owner of those nursing homes is enjoying a mansion, or two or three, a fancy car and all the finery money can buy, at my expense whether I'm rich or not. Think about it.

Don't kid yourself

I read books concerning 'beating cancer' and 'how to be healthier' but the fact remains: Not everyone will develop cancer. Even if you live a healthy life, you will not stop time from marching on. Growing old and elderly concerns should be on all of our minds. Why? Because unless something kills you when you are young, you will grow old, you will not stop time from marching on. So growing old should be the concern of each of us whether we are 20, 40 or approaching being old. We will all grow older, like it or not. Also, nursing homes are a billion dollar industry and growing richer all the time. Each of us needs to stand up and say: "Traditional, Medical Model nursing homes need to go." They are dinosaurs in our modern era.

In this day and age of people not liking government being up in their business, just wait till you grow old. When old, government is up in your business big time.

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Comments 12 comments

diogenes profile image

diogenes 17 months ago from UK and Mexico

I shudder for the elderly (I'm one) in this age of greed.

Haven't seen you around for years!?

We have government funded nursing homes in the UK and the usual slew of private, over-priced homes. With the percentage of the aged increasing in leaps and bounds each year, I expect involuntary euthanasia will soon be the norm, along with assisted and encouraged suicide.

We already see this in operation in our NHS hospitals...I was diagnosed diabetic 2 last year and the hospital stay was the most exquisite torture you could imagine. I escaped just before they administered the coup de grace! (Think I'm kidding? Ha!)

Good article and good to see you again


billybuc profile image

billybuc 17 months ago from Olympia, WA

I haven't even read your book and I know you are correct about nursing homes. I've seen too many of them and had too many friends in them, and the care that I have seen and the conditions have been whatever you were chastised for, take it with a grain of salt and move on.

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 17 months ago from USA

Howdy BobbiRant - It is good to see someone writing about something they actually experienced and understand. Like you, I spent lots of time and effort working with nursing home residents and with those who run the places. One thing about resident nursing homes that I learned during those years was how to quickly recognize the "good" ones from those in which you would not want to reside. When you walk in the front door, if the stink assails your nose, that is not a good nursing home.


Gus :-)))

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 17 months ago from New York Author

diogenes : Yes, I do not write here much anymore. I kind of got fed up with this place...not the people but Hubpages itself. I'm glad you liked my article......thank you so much for commenting. Good to see you, Friend.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 17 months ago from New York Author

billybuc : Thank you so much for stopping by an making such a nice comment. Yeah, some guest person decided to stop by and decided I know not what I speak. Well, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Good to see you again. Thanks for the comment.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 17 months ago from New York Author

GusTheRedneck : You got that right...........some are good......some bad...the traditional ones mostly bad. Thank you for the nice comment. Good to see you again.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 17 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Bobbi, I agree with everything you've written. My Mum was in a nursing home, temporarily, for physical therapy, and I couldn't wait to get her out of there. The fact that many of these homes seem to be focused on warehousing the elderly is shameful and just plain shortsighted. Voted waaay up and shared. It's great to see you, by the way. :-)

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 17 months ago from Nashville Tn.

I'm glad you wrote this hub Bobbi. As an entertainer I've been in countless nursing homes praying that I will never have to be in one. Thanks and sharing.

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 17 months ago from the short journey

Advising younger people to stop and think about the fact that they will be old one day and that now is the time to address the issues that elderly people face in our society is crucial to solving the concerning problems. Alternatives are needed and that they are so long in coming is incredible. The idea that the elderly, the infirm, or handicapped cannot contribute to life is bunk:

Personal experience is what people who place their relatives in a nursing home and leave them to the mercy of so-called caregivers need. It seems that for every caregiver who really cares and works to really try to help, residents are subjected to 3 who could care less and are even dangerous. The caregivers who have a heart for those in their care and want to do their job correctly are overwhelmed by the residential population as well as coworkers who do as little as possible, then are angry when they are called to do more.

Making it a point to visit nursing homes well before one is needed is a smart move so there can be a chance to look for alternatives such as in home care. Visit the kitchens on several weekends and holidays. Visit the facilities and walk the halls to smell the rooms on several midnights/early mornings. Visit them consistently to get a feel of what the residents really live with day following night, day after day.

Connect with organizations that are not employed by federal or state offices, but who are independently working with private businesses such as elder care attorneys to provide for and protect the weakest among us. A society's greatness is preeminently established in the care it gives to its weakest members.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 17 months ago from New York Author

Genna East : Hello. Yes they are shameful and continue to make money, sadly enough. Deplorable conditions and archaic rules abound for the $1500 plus per week charged. Thanks for a great comment. Good to see you too.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 17 months ago from New York Author

vocalcoach : Thank you for stopping by and thanks for a great comment. I agree, hoping to never be in one of the traditional types either. Yet, many families do not realize they can change them because they are paying customers and can demand changes. Hopefully people will get it. This is why I continue my crusade on this subject. I'm glad you stopped by.

BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 17 months ago from New York Author

RTalloni: I agree that people of all ages should be addressing this issue before they need one. People love living in denial, especially when young. Perhaps it's because none of us care to face our own mortality until we have to. Sad, but probably true. Thanks for the great comment.

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