Are you on your way to living in a convalescent home?
It is estimated that more than 22 percent of the elderly population in the US, 85 and over, lives in a convalescent home. They are the forgotten generation, and the probability of you and me ending-up in a convalescent home, replacing the forgotten generations, is very high.
Even though convalescent homes were primarily designed to provide a home-like environment for patients needing to recover from long-term illnesses or medical procedures, they are mostly used to house the elderly population. And once admitted to these homes, the elderly people usually spend their last days in these commonly inadequate facilities.
In home care can be costly and physically draining for caregivers struggling to manage their jobs and take care of their elderly loved ones. Convalescent homes generally helps alleviate the burdens of working adult, who would otherwise have no other option but to care for their elderly loved ones at home, by providing around the clock care.The switch from taking care of our elderly population at home to taking them to a convalescent facility seems to be an ideal situation for working adults who lack the time and resources to provide the necessary care for their loved ones. At the convalescent homes, the admitted residents are to be treated with care and respect while being assisted with their activities of daily living.
However, this supposedly ideal situation of a convalescent home care is far from ideal; most resident do not get the proper care and treatment necessary to help them recover to a functional state, and elderly abuse in these facilities is quite prevalent.
What is sad about the situation of the elderly people and the convalescent homes is that once they have been admitted to these facilities, they are usually forgotten because we are too busy working or planning our vacations, keeping up with social media or finding excuses not to visit.
To make up for the fact that we can’t be with our elderly loved ones, and to ease our feelings of guilt, we dress up their shared rooms in the convalescent homes with old pictures of them in their happier days, and of our family on vacation. And this, of course, only serves to remind the elderly of how things used to be when they were young and independent.
The forgotten elderly generation sits alone with their memories, lonely and depressed, hoping for a call from a friend or family, reminiscing about happier time when they mattered and were relevant to society. Sitting in their little corner of the world, the elderly are like withering trees waiting to disappear like dust in the wind.
What we, as a society, same to have forgotten is that at some point in time, if we live long enough, and don’t make efforts to change the current situation of elderly care in our countries, we will probably end up in the same situation; lonely, depressed and tucked away in a convalescent home, waiting on time to take its toll.Like every other living thing on earth, the elder and mostly forgotten generation dies and are replaced by the following generation, who will follow the same path. This difficult and unavoidable circle of life will continue until the end of time.What is avoidable, however, is the way we treat the elderly population whom we will be replacing in the near future.
If a convalescent home is the only option available for your loved ones, you should stay actively involved in their care, monitor them for any signs and symptoms of abuse, and not just visit them once in a while, but more than often if possible. The feeling of loneliness and depression in the elderly usually stems from a feeling of abandonment.
Every life has the same value, old and young, and we all want to feel loved and wanted; we need to belong. Each and every one of us should be treated with the utmost respect and decency no matter our age. The elderly population is not disposable or irrelevant, they are us in a few years and we must treat them the way we expect to be treated when we replace them in the fragile circle of our aging existence.
This article is not intended to minimize the work of countless family members who struggle each day to take care of their aging parents or grandparents and the stress that comes with this work; it is, however, trying to shed some light on one of the problem affecting our society; the apparent discarding of our forgotten elderly population in convalescent homes.
Please share your thoughts, experiences and concerns related to the elderly population in our society today and some of the things we can do to improve their lives.