My grandmother is 85. She has her mind. On some days her body is failing her. Sometimes it works. She has been in and out of the hospital and 3 different nursing homes in the last 6 months all related to complications of medical issues that generally come with older age.
It’s been hard though. With the pandemic and the savagery that has torn through nursing homes, it hasn’t been easy to get in to see her. You can only call or peer through a window. It’s not just the same. She is vaccinated and for that I am happy.
The problem that has come up, something that I have never truly realized, is that nursing homes have gone somewhat rogue since they went into lockdown. It seems as though they are not following the rules and laws as they should, making sure that the residents are properly cared for. That they are treated with kindness and respected as individuals. Because families are not able to go in and visit, these nursing homes are getting way with things they shouldn’t.
I have talked with directors of nursing, charge nurses, and administrators to know avail. I have also been completely ignored. It’s been impossible at times to talk with my grandmother. The staff doesn’t communicate about her care. They don’t even read her chart to find out what she needs for medical or diet.
There has also been the awful side of it. Things I would rather not type. If any of you have dealt with nursing homes, you understand the ugly side. Bottom line is I got tired of no one listening. So I started speaking up. I’m tired of being quiet. I have been emailing senators. I have been putting things on social media. It’s disgusting how our elderly are treated.
Our elderly population regardless of their physical or mental condition should be treated with respect, kindness and compassion at the time of need whether in nursing homes, assisted living or in-home care. They have the right to be taken care of properly in a medical aspect, given hot, nutritious meals and allowed proper personal hygiene. Some of the facilities are asking for $5,000 a month and they give a wedge of cabbage for dinner. Or give you cold pancakes for breakfast. Sometimes they say mean, cruel or rude things to the elderly. They don’t give them water. The don’t toilet them in a proper and timely matter. They won’t give you pain management and they wont let you call your family for days on end. Is this really how we treat our elderly?
Most elderly that I know have worked and paid taxes. They have raised a family and paid their dues to the community. They have been law abiding citizen doing their due diligence in voting and stopping for school buses. And this is how we treat them. When they are tired and frail. When they feel hopeless and insecure. When they feel lonely and scared. This is how we treat them.
Nursing homes all over the country, not just in my home of Michigan, need to be more accountable. They need to work harder. States need to have agencies do more surprise check ins. They need to look at how residents are treated and have those conversations. Laws need to change about elder care. The elderly need to be given a list of their rights and ask questions if they don’t understand without fear of disapproval or dismissal from the staff. The list goes on and on. Something needs to be done. Our elder communities deserve better. They deserve more. A. Lot. More.