The reader is urged to make his own conclusions after reading this article. Everyone is independent in making their own choices for their own lives. Take what helps you from this article and use it to keep yourself healthy. If something you read here does not apply to your life or your current situation, then pass that information on to others whom it might help.
Choosing independence instead of depending on a nursing home or physical rehabilitation and care center can be the difference between life and death for you.
If this sounds unbelievable to you, do some research on the net and see what info is available to you about nursing homes.
Most of the stories that you hear about nursing homes are true. Society sometimes paints a picture of nursing homes or assisted living homes being the epitome of freedom and independence for senior citizens. But in reality, some of them are more like prisons than they are like hotels. If you are sitting in your own living room reading this and if you are dreaming that when you get older you will retire to a nursing home, think it over. Think again, and please reconsider your retirement plans. Depending on where you are located, depending on the individual place that you choose, your future life could resemble the life of an inmate, only you will have willingly given away your freedom by choice. You could sit there and think that I am exaggerating or you can keep an open mind and hear me out. Listen to what you might have to live with if you choose to live the rest of your days in a nursing home.
You might have to:
- Spend hours each day sitting in an uncomfortable wheelchair even if you do not need a wheelchair.
- Spend hours each day waiting to be accompanied to the bathroom or wheeled to the bathroom.
- Spend hours each day in a dining room that smells like it really needs to be cleaned.
- Spend hours each day trying to figure out where your own clothing is.
- Spend hours each day begging staff to bring clothing to your room so that you can leave your room.
- Miss your rehabilitation therapy because the staff lost your clothing and you are not allowed out of the room without your clothing.
- Spend days and even weeks waiting for a phone call because you have no phone in your own room and no staff will pick up the pay phone when it rings.
- Eat what they bring you even though you did not order that food. And beg them to change your menu even though you have put your changes in writing and they have made the changes in writing but they still bring the wrong food to you.
- Beg and plead and cry for the staff to bring you to your room and wait for hours and hours to get help because they are short-staffed, especially on weekends.
- Wear other people’s clothing because they have lost your own clothing. You will wear clothing that does not fit you. And you will wear clothing that is stained all because you have lost so much of your freedom while living in that nursing home.
- Be extra careful and extra vigilant when they are giving you your medication because sometimes they give the wrong medication to the wrong patients. (I saw in one instance where they were giving the wrong medication to a resident and thank God the resident noticed the mistake and stopped them. What if this resident had been mentally-disabled and didn’t notice the difference? That patient would have been wrongly medicated and would have perhaps died.
- Lose your freedom of choice in so many areas of your life.
- Be exposed to seriously mentally-ill individuals that are bunked on the same floor that you are bunked on.
- Be at risk of being attacked by patients who wander the halls because they are physically-fit to do so but not mentally-fit to do so. This list is only the tip of the iceberg. I have not listed everything. You need to decide for yourself if you will remain independent or not.
Does all that sound horrible to you? Does all that sound unbelievable to you? Yes, it might sound that way. But reality is that all of these things can and will and did happen to residents in one or two nursing homes and rehabilitation and care centers right here in the United States of America. Just recently there was a news item that one resident died of bedsores and of maggots in his eyes. How in the world can a nursing home not notice a man develop maggots? The reality of this is that maggots would not first appear in a human’s eyes but would first appear somewhere else on the body. The eyes are one of the last places that the maggots would appear. We know this just from knowing what happens to animals when they get fleas or other insects in their bodies. If you have a kitten or cat, and that animal develops fleas, the first fleas will appear on the body or tail. Once the animal gets infested with fleas, then the fleas will disperse to other parts of the body like the eyes and ears of the animal . Same thing with humans. Most likely those maggots first appeared on the human’s torso or other body part long before the maggots progressed onto the man’s eyes. Yet, this happened in a nursing home in the United States, not in a foreign country, but right here in the United States. After hearing this are you still thinking of living in a nursing home for your senior years?
Do this for yourself. Use a major search engine and put in the words nursing home, put yourself on alert so that you receive any and all news regarding nursing homes in America (or in foreign countries where you live). In less than one week, you will receive hundreds if not thousands of alert news bulletins that will bring you all the news that is related to any and all nursing homes in America or in your country. Most of that news will be bad news. Most of that news will tell you of all the horrible things that are happening to residents of nursing homes today. Try this and you will prove to yourself that every word that I typed here is the absolute truth. Do yourself a favor and do whatever you can do to stay in your own home and in your own apartment independent so that you never have to wind up inside a nursing home by yourself.
Near the bottom of this article there is a link for a page that tells you the truth about nursing homes and rehabilitation care centers in America. Check out that page if you ever consider living inside a nursing home. Check out that page if you ever are in need of services of a rehabilitation and care center as most of these therapy places are located inside of these nursing homes. Once you admit yourself to a rehabilitation and care center you are opening up yourself to the possibility of living in that nursing home for the rest of your life. I have actually witnessed someone go from mildly inactive (due to a surgery) to almost vegetative state due to the lack of care and negligence and malpractice inside of a rehabilitation center that was housed inside of a nursing home. Once the person was in the rehab center, they transferred him upstairs to the nursing home, in error and once he was upstairs the degree of care went from some to none. The center thought this person had no family so they proceeded to treat him like they treat many who have no visitors come there. And then one day when the visitor was able to finally visit, they found this patient laying in bed with nothing on but a diaper and t-shirt. The patient was not allowed out of the room without clothing and there was no clothing inside his room even though his family had brought over seven shirts and six pairs of pants, and underwear and t-shirts that were brand new. All of this man’s clothing was lost and he was basically a prisoner in his room, in his bed due to that lack of care, lack of organization and due to the loss of all (not some) of his own clothing. Finally, when family mentioned the situation to staff, they scurried around to find someone else’s clothing for him (because they could not find his own clothing). So that is what happened on weekends when the staff thought no one was visiting. Another weekend, family came upstairs and they were horrified at the odor on the floor that the family member was staying on. They got off the elevator and smelled this horrible smell throughout the entire floor and the staff didn’t even seem to notice the odor. Was the odor from patients who were forced to sit in wet clothing and in wet diapers for hours at a time? What was the odor from? Even the dining room smelled of this foul odor. One family member of a different resident actually brought their own odor-repellent because they were almost vomiting from the odor on the floor. This is what some nursing homes are like.
Why isn’t this on the front page of the news? It is not on the news because the nursing homes and rehab centers prepare the place and put it into better condition when they believe they will have the most visitors. In other words, during holidays or during the most heavily-trafficked visiting hours, the facility puts on more staff and assigns more staff to those areas where the visitors will be. By doing this, the nursing home and rehab centers can present a place that appears decent. Then once all the visitors are gone, the staff mysteriously disappears to somewhere else and hte conditions in the nursing home go back to the horrible conditions that existed before the visitors came. That day when the place smelled horrible, ti was very early–before the majority of the visitors came to visit. The place would smell like that horribly for hours, and then before the larger number of visitors were to visit, the staff would then get busy changing the residents diapers or getting the odors out of the rooms so that when the visitors came to visit they would see that -supposedly– that residents were being cared for. No one would know the truth unless they had been there one or two or three hours earlier. (For example, if they expect the most visitors late afternoon on a Saturday, that means all Saturday morning, residents could go without their diapers being changed and no one would know and no one would care. That probably is what caused the horrible odor throughout the hallways that day. (A combination of diapers’ odor and unclean floors and unclean laundry laying around in the hallways probably was the cause of the disgusting odor in the hallways). Why didn’t the residents complain? They probably did. The ones that are able to be verbal do tell their family members what the place is like but when the family finally comes to visit, the family sees that the place looks nice and they think the seniors are making up stories. Another reason why this is not front page news is because usually when these places are having their inspections they are warned ahead of time and they have a chance to clean the place up. There is a vicious cycle going on in many of these bad nursing homes and no family members are aware of what is happening to their relatives. Do not kid yourself and do not be a Pollyanna when it comes to the subject of nursing homes and rehabilitation and care centers. These conditions exist and they exist today!
I urge you, that if your family member is complaining of horrible or bad conditions inside of a nursing home, please believe what they are saying to you, because most likely they are telling you the one hurndred-percent truth. You need to believe the residents if anyone is going to get to the bottom of the disgusting conditions that are happening inside of some nursing homes today. Now they have people trying to hide this condition and trying to tell people that the horror stories are not true or that they are exaggerated. When you hear this and when they tell you that , remember these words, it is really happening in some nursing homes and inside of some rehab and care centers, right here, right in the United States of America. It is happening right under our noses and not many are paying attention to it because they are not believing this could possibly be happening. You are reading the words that are telling you the truth. Some nursing homes and some rehab and care centers in America are treating residents and patients horribly and they are getting away with it because they can get away with it. I beg you to believe your family members when they complain to you about conditions inside of these centers.
The reasons why people end up in nursing homes:
- They cannot be left alone in their own homes or apartments because they have started fires with the stove or oven.
- They do not know when to take their medication or they forget to take it.
- They have flooded apartments because they forget to turn the water off.
- They let strangers into their homes and that puts them in danger.
- They wander off into the streets and their family has found them and put them in nursing homes.
- They have Alzheimer’s or some other disease that makes it impossible for them to remain independent.
- They got an injury (i.e. broken hip) and they could not afford to stay in their own homes safely.
Those are some of the major reasons why older people or disabled people end up in nursing homes. (There are more reasons but those are some of the most prevalent reasons). Knowing these reasons and knowing the solutions to these problems can keep you or your family members independent and out of the vicious cycle and circle of nursing homes and physical rehabilitation and care centers. So, you are asking, what are the solutions to these above-listed problems?
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO REMAIN INDEPENDENT AND OUT OF NURSING HOMES AND REHABILITATION AND CARE CENTERS:
- Using microwave ovens (that have automatic timers) is one solution for the family member who leaves the stove or oven on. They can cook by microwave and thus be safe from oven or stove fires. What if your family member insists on using the stove or oven after they have already caused a fire? Close the gas off. Have the gas company come and close the gas off completely. When the gas company does this it is done in a safe way. (Use electric heat and hot water and keep the gas off). If you do not want to close the gas off, divide the house and keep the oven, stove and gas-operated appliances out of the rooms that the senior member has access to.
- Purchase timers or alarm watches to remind the person to take the medication. Keep a list on the refrigerator and a list near the television set with reminders of when to take the medication. Some seniors and disabled people are permitted to have home care or visiting nurse services visit and this will help solve that problem. You can have different members of the family telephone the person and remind them by phone to take the medication. You can set up other reminders also, for example, you can tell the family member to take their medication when a certain tv show comes on. (Time it to when the person needs the medication. Check local tv service to be sure that the timing is correct. Remember that stations change their shows and change their listings frequently so use this only as a last-resort method of reminders. You can have a neighbor visit to remind the person if that is available to you.
- Floods are real problems in apartments where the seniors or disabled people live. The solution to this is reminders. If you know that your family member leaves the water running, you can do a few things to stop floods. First, always keep a large supply of towels and buckets around so that just in case there is a flood, there are proper clean up tools around. Second, if it is physically possible, see if you can safely limit the water pressure inside of the apartment. So this way when the faucet is turned on, the water will not come out like the pressure of a fire hydrant but will come out in a less forceful manner. Third, post signs on the front door, and on all the bathroom doors, signs that state did you shut the water off? You can make them funny signs with little cartoons. That will add a little humor and it won’t seem like you are telling them what to do but it will just be a gentle reminder. If you have a neighbor who will check in or family member , of course that really helps things along. You can telephone the person a few times a day and then remind them to check the water before they go out of the house or before they go to bed. If you use all these methods, you probably can avoid any floods.
- This should be easy enough to handle. Most seniors who let strangers into the home are those who have hardly any contact with family or friends. See if the person wants to get involved with the local senior center. This will give them connections. Have visitors come frequently. Install a peephole on the doorway or an intercom system and instruct them to protect themselves and not let strangers into the home. Take the name off all the sales lists so that visiting salesmen will not knock on the door. Have an unlisted number. Most times salespeople find residents by their listed phone numbers. So take the name and address and phone off all the lists that you can take them off of. And keep them connected with other family members and other friends. (Most seniors who are scammed are scammed because they are found to be alone. When there are repairs to be done or when legitimate service people or delivery people are to visit, have a family member or two or three of them be there at the house. This way strangers do not know that anyone lives there alone. Word spreads fast, and almost always entire neighborhoods know when a senior or disabled person is living at home alone. Once the word spreads, that sole person becomes a target of unscrupulous unwanted strangers or salespeople. If you think this is not true, listen to your news stations and find out what is happening in the world.
- How do you stop wandering? It is hard but not impossible. First, let the person know that they should always have proper identification on them. And they should always carry their keys with them even if they are staying at home. Many seniors get locked out and then if they have Alzheimer’s or if they are forgetful they will wander. All of this can be avoided. Keeping keys handy, having a neighbor on alert, little things like this helps almost everyone. Having a busy schedule helps stop wandering. When family members know that someone is to visit soon, they will be at home waiting for them. Having nice neighbors too, helps. Do everything you can do to stay and be connected with people (people you know – not strangers). Sometimes it helps to use memory-improving tactics –and using these also helps stop wandering. Urge family members to use calendars, timers and to use the newspapers to keep connected and to keep up to date on what is really happening in their lives. The first slipping into wandering is when a person goes for days or weeks and does not know what day it is. These things can be helped if caught in time. Urge the person who is living alone to look at their calendars every day and mark off the day that it is at the end of the day. This keeps a person connected to reality. Urge them to use alarm clocks even if they can wake up naturally. Anything that helps routine – helps them. Most people have large families. Have family members visit (invited of course. Call the person and say you are coming over; Ask if that is okay). Solve some of the wandering problems by having help with shopping. Have meals-on-wheels deliver some meals. Call for take-out foods. There are many ways to keep from wandering. Have a gps device if you travel by car. The main and most important thing to do if you or your family member wanders is to ensure that they always have proper identification on them, along with emergency contact telephone numbers. You can give them a Trac phone or a life-alert button . All these are good solutions and good ways to stay at home and not wind up in a nursing home or rehab center.
DISEASE and TERMINAL ILLNESS:
- Though this is hard it is not impossible. There are still ways to help family members or to help yourself stay independent and stay living in your own apartment or home. Remember that most times, staying in your own place will prolong your life and keep you healthier than if you are going to give in to live in a nursing home. You can help stay independent by having home care at your own home. If you cannot afford home care, try and hire private help. Most people think this is expensive. But trust me, this probably will be less expensive than if you go to a nursing home or rehab center. Your life is worth more than all the money you have so do not hesitate to hire help if hiring help will keep you independent in your own home and apartment. Try your best to stay living in your own place and do that by hiring help or by getting home care (even if you need 24/7 home care, that will be better than living in a nursing home). In the nursing home, if you wind up in a bad one, you will be a virtual prisoner and your life might be in danger. (Note, we said if you wind up in a bad one. But the problem is that you might not know it is a bad one until you are actually living there. Only the persons living there know what the real conditions are like inside the walls of many nursing homes). Use all the rest of the helps mentioned when you have illness, helps like alarm clocks and reminder timers, calendars and the connections between family and friends. If you have terminal illness, you are better off contacting hospice than you are contacting a nursing home. Most hospices have better reputations than nursing homes do. Take your chances with hospice before taking the chance with a nursing home. Most times hospice is free. (And if it is not free, it is probably covered by your insurance company). For food and other deliveries, use your same delivery people, do not try newer stores or companies that ring your bell or come to you unsolicited. Always think safety first. Check out your options of meals-on-wheels. You can find this charity through the local Catholic Charities office or through your local synagogues.
- Falls and injuries are some of the main reasons that some wind up in nursing homes and in rehabilitation and care centers. So, avoid falls and spills. You can do this by going slow. For Heaven’s sake, slow down. Know that in this time in your life there is never a reason to rush so much that you break a leg or other limb. Slow down! You can save your life by slowing down. It is common knowledge that once a person reaches a certain age, the most common cause of death happens due to a fall. When seniors or disabled individuals fall it is more serious than when a fully-abled person or younger person falls. You will have more complications and less chances of survival. You will need to survive the medical system. That means once you enter the hospital you run the risk of serious infection even if you are there for just a fall. It is public knowledge that thousands die each and every year from hospital infections. So once you go into the hospital you are at risk. And if you go in there older or handicapped, your risk is more than the average person. So, slow down. Prevent falls and prevent accidents. This is the very best thing that you can do for yourself. Slow down. I cannot repeat this enough. Most falls happen in or near the home and the majority of falls happen because someone was rushing to do something. Other falls are due to stroke. You can avoid that by watching your diet and your lifestyle. Take good care of yourself and your body will take good care of you. If you are smoking or drinking, save your life right now by stopping those unhealthy habits.
Those are all possible solutions that are available to you if it fits your lifestyle. Do only what you can do safely. You make the decisions yourself if you want to be independent or if you want to live inside a nursing home or rehabilitation and care center. The author urges you to make intelligent choices for your life. The author of this article is not a medical or legal professional but writes for entertainment, information and resources only. The author urges you to make your own decisions for your life. Regarding the suggestions or advice in this article, use only what is safe and helpful to you considering your own lifestyle and your own present living situation. Brainstorm with your family and friends and come up with the best solutions to your own problems. Remember that only you know what is best for you. Read the book, THE GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin DeBecker. This is a book that urges you to believe in yourself and trust your own instincts.
Here is a link about nursing home conditions in our world, http://www.safetyforum.com/nursinghomes/
I hope that you make the safest and most correct decisions for your life and for your future. If you remember nothing from this article at all, kindly remember these four most important things:
- Have faith in God, and believe in God. Trust your own instincts and read the suggested book listed above.
- Go slow. Slow down; avoid falls. Take good care of your health. And stay connected always.
- Pass this article on to as many people as you can pass it on to. You just never know who might need to hear all of these words to help them in their own lives.
I appreciate your comments, ideas, suggestions or criticisms, and look forward to hearing from you today or in the near future. Now you have learned how to protect yourself and your health. Do everything that you can do to remain independent in your own home or in your own apartment. Trust me you will not like spending your life inside a nursing home or rehabilitation and care center.
Disclaimer: I am not saying that no patient should ever go into a nursing home. My message is clear that it is best for human beings to do whatever they can legally, emotionally, and physically do to remain out of nursing homes and physical rehabilitation centers if they can safely avoid doing so. I am saying that if you can recover or live in your own home or apartment, you are usually much better off doing that. Make your own decisions for your life but make your decisions with information and real facts.
Here is a link describing a true story of a patient at a nursing home who had maggots inside their wound
Let me leave you with these last few thoughts. If you must live in a nursing home, stay connected with family and friends by the telephone, visits and by the internet. Insist on having a telephone in your own room if you are living there . You need that telephone connection as a life-preserver. Trust me on this issue, you must have a telephone if you live there. I found this out the hard way, when I discovered that in some nursing homes and in some physical rehab centers the staff does not answer the pay phones (that are supposed to connect residents with their friends and relatives). Sometimes it takes hours and sometimes days to connect on the pay phone at these centers. So, insist on a phone inside your room if you are staying at a physical rehabilitation center or a nursing home. If you have an internet connection in the recreation room, use that connection to stay connected to the people that you know. That might be your link to your health and to your sanity and freedom. Stay connected!