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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