Advocating for ChangeApr 19, 2021
If you care, use your voice!
Are you a baby b00mer or the child of one? We need to hear from you. Would you rather live in the newer opulent senior living mansions with the same old healthcare options? Or would something more modest do just fine if you had more choices in the kinds of care you could have? Do you want to live with hundreds of others or in a more homestyle setting? Would you like more real care and less fancy surroundings? Maybe more
nature? Gardens of fresh, organic produce to make meals healthier? More personalized healthcare and maybe alternative health consultations?
What is your ideal place and way to spend your senior years? What is your vision? Strip away whatever you know about senior living and let your imagination fly.
For me, I will stay in my home for as long as I can. I’ll get whatever help I need. I am an introvert, meaning that I can be social and enjoy it in limited quantities. But at some point, I want to be home and into my own world. Extroverts are energized by people and action while that eventually drains introverts. This personality difference may shape your vision.
I want all my choices available to me in how I live my life. I want to know what is in my food and that it is organic and healthy. At home, I can take my supplements and shun most drugs. Senior living homes are medical. I have seen a few times that when a client went to the hospital, staff would go into their apartment and take their supplements and dump them. To me, that is just theft.
I want to choose where, when, and how I go places. I don’t want to wait for an activity director to plan my trip in a big van or bus with many other seniors. Choice in companions is important.
However, if you have to go to a nursing home, the choice about most of your life is most often not yours. I have seen good ones, but I have seen more than I would hope to never be in. And the choice of roommates may very well not be an option.
One of my clients was a sweet lady who was sinking into depression. A stroke had taken away her singing voice, some memory, and a lot of her mobility. She showed me the food she would often not eat. These are people trying to recover from something. They need the best of foods to do that.
Roommates were never a fit and often would be homeless people that were not mentally well and some were violent. The hallways were crowded with staff, equipment, and people rushing around or waiting in wheelchairs. The place was old and drab. Nothing to brighten the client’s days.
Besides these things, I personally found a few things disturbing. I could come and go without anyone knowing who I was or why I was there. Eventually, they figured it out, but they needed a gatekeeper. The pandemic helped with that.
I was only there with the client for 30 min. a week. She needed more work or something that would work like massage. I got her daughter to buy a soft leg brace that had air pressure turn on and off to mimic massage. But the staff didn’t get it and the daughter, a doctor, had to tell them she wanted it done a few times a day and why.
You know your likely issues as you age. You’ve seen your relatives before you. If you haven’t done an analysis on your genes, you will not know your risks or how to mitigate them.
Taking care of yourself as you venture into your senior years is the only way to stay out of nursing homes. The choice of where to live out your years needs careful consideration. What are you giving up? What are you gaining?
No matter your choice, speak up now. Tell the industry what you will pay for and what you want. The time is now before you may have no choice in the matter. Money talks. Will your money walk away?
Linda Mac Dougall M.A., HHP, CMT
Don't Use The V-Word
Do you mind my asking you how old you are?" Linda, in her early 70's, doesn't identify as a "senior" - at least not in the context that most people think of it.
Published by James Lee
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