Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's A Dog's Life At Some LTC Facilities

Visited Mom's old facility.  Calendar showed three days of Seated Activities. 

Sit. Stay. Good resident. 

It's a Dog's Life for many.

All the "activities" in the lower level Activity Room are board games and "sit down" games, visiting the resident cat and now the resident rabbit who takes up a major part of the room in a cage.

You can watch the resident dog as he waddles here and there. He's quite old now. Just like many of the others living here.

Great to have animals around but where are the spaces for Adult Movement Activities? 

Oh, that's right. they have the "dining area". 

Just move aside the chairs and tables. 

They can't? Well, someone will .... when they have time ... or when they "think" to "organize" a "class".

Where's the gym? With equipment to use?

There is none.

This is a Long Term Care Facility. By laws in most states it's a "medical facility" and they have "their own" medical staffs and the residents are actually considered "patients" -- although not referred to in that way (by most staff).

Interesting how we believe movement is the key to continued good health and then we "lock up" parts of our society and take away any and all real physical activity believing they will fall, they will have problems they cannot and will not ..... etc.

Where's the library with books and computers?

There is none.
 A few books are displayed in the "living room" used mostly during holidays when families visit.

The only computer is in a room reserved for "staff meetings", "family" conferences and occassionally reserved for a resident's birthday with family/friends. 

The computer is "out of bounds" not to be used or touched except by staff.

Residents are seen as "too old" to use "technological equipment" by themselves.

Question: If a two year old can use a cell phone to play games and explore why can't an eighty two year old do the same?

At Mom's old facility, anything that involves some or more involvement by staff just isn't  "feasible" and either isn't considered or is negatively presented. 

Depending on the medical conditions and judging from the few people who use the "Main Dining Room", it's a handful who can get into the area since all use walkers or wheelchairs.

Once in a while the local "book mobile" comes by. 

In the "fireplace room" just off the reception area where there's a couch, some chairs and where some residents and many "visitors" spend time especially when the weather isn't good for going outside, the low seating couches and chairs requiring assistance by a second person, are seldom used.

There are two bookcases with donated books. A few are Large Print. I've only seen a handful of residents ask about the books. Most probably don't realize they could ask to read them. They look like decoration, not for reading.

NO.  Newspapers. NO.

It's assumed at Long Term Care Facilities that the residents are beyond the ability to move except with a walker and almost all use wheelchairs or Gerry Chairs (where they sit/lay and have little attention).

We have, after all, three levels of "Senior Living" -- Independent, Assisted and Long Term Care in Missouri but only one, Long Term Care qualifies to have Medicaid beds.

Long Term Care is defined in Missouri as needing certain amounts and levels of "personal assistance in daily life" and there are qualifications regarding ability to move independently that can disqualify a person from LTC. 

Upstairs, on the third floor, a TV is turned on. 

Some sit and watch. Others sit and stare. 

Some staff "chose" what's on and sometimes that choice isn't a good one for those with memory loss, sight problems, hearing problems or who may be experiencing mental processing challenges. But for the Staff, it's a great way to have your afternoon soap opera and work while watching.

How much of this has come about because there is little or no stimulation, activity, exercise that really moves the body and the mind?

Do you go to a Gym? Do you workout? Do you walk or swim? 

We're told every day how important walking and movement are and how challenged our bodies are including the internal organs when we sit all day.

So what do we do in Long Term Care?

We treat movement as dangerous. We slow down the body and cause more challenges as we practice lethargy rather than encourage movement. But....that would mean more staff....more expense...and there are no rewards for lifestyle improvement in Long Term Care Facilities from Insurance companies as there is in the "real world".

We take away "hazardous" walkers. Why not invent safer ones?

THERE!  Yes, you Entreprenuers and Small Business people. The market is out there; the need is growing every day. 

Invent. Create &  above all CARE about those who are where YOU will be .. sooner than you think.

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