As we begin to age, the importance of taking care of ourselves and maintaining a healthy lifestyle both increase. This leaves many senior citizens turning to nursing homes to help them manage their health. It also provides senior citizens with activities and social events to keep them engaged and loving their healthy life. That is why nearly 3.5 million senior citizens reside in nursing homes, and that number is steadily on the rise.
Unfortunately, bad things can happen to good people. It is common for senior citizens in nursing homes to acquire some sort of injury. It could be from something as simple as a slip and fall, to something more complicated, like accidentally receiving the wrong medication. That is why it is important for nursing home residents and their families to focus on finding additional ways to remain healthy in a nursing home.
Mistreatment and Negligence
Many employees at nursing homes feel that they are unfairly paid for the work they do. Sometimes this causes them to rush through their tasks. This lack of dedication and attention to detail can cause the employee to unintentionally provide the wrong medications to seniors, as well as miss physical, mental, and emotional problems that should otherwise be caught. According to residents, roughly 95% of them have witnessed some form of neglect during their stay at a nursing home.
Here are a couple of warning signs of neglect that residents, family members, and other nursing home staff should be on the lookout for:
- Residents becoming sick frequently
- Unexplainable injuries
- Negative changes in attitude and or behavior
- Rapid and intense changes in weight
- Residents become more reclusive
- Injuries that require emergency care
- Residents avoiding talking to members of the staff
- Illnesses and injuries going unreported to physicians and family members
- Residents being heavily medicated for no apparent reasons
- Unclean conditions (in common rooms and resident rooms)
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Staying Healthy Means Putting an End to Abuse and Neglect
Residents can only do so much when it comes to staying healthy in a nursing home. The bulk of the responsibility falls on the staff and the visiting family. That is why it is important for residents and family members to communicate regularly. Learning to understand what the most common types of abuse and neglect are can help residents, family members, and staff members better identify what is going on. These include:
- Bedsores – Experts estimate that 10% of nursing home residents suffer from bedsores. While this is an extremely common condition, it is easily preventable. If a resident does begin to develop bedsores, they can be easily treated. However, if they are left untreated, it can lead to serious injuries, illnesses, and in some extreme cases, death.
- Slips, Falls, and Fractures – This is one of the most common types of injuries seen in nursing homes today. It is the responsibility of the nursing home and the staff to provide a safe environment for all residents.
- Inadequate Care – Senior citizens move into a nursing home because they need additional help care for themselves. If they are not given the extra care they require, they are needlessly suffering. This includes the proper disbursement of medications.
- Physical Abuse – Just as physical abuse is illegal outside of a nursing home, it is also illegal inside of one. If you or someone you know is the victim of physical abuse within a nursing home, contact the authorities immediately.
- Verbal Abuse – Threats, insults, and other demeaning statements can be harmful to the overall health of a nursing home resident. Depression is a dangerous risk for residents, and this type of abuse greatly increases the risk of depression. Depression leads to thoughts and feelings of self-mutilation and suicide attempts.
- Dehydration – When residents are not given enough to drink, dehydration can set in within hours.
- Malnutrition – Most people believe that malnutrition is simply not having enough to eat. This is not accurate. It means that a person is not getting all the required nutrients they require to remain healthy. If residents are having unbalanced meals or are being overfed, they run the risk of other health problems.
- Diabetic Care – Diabetes is a serious, but treatable, condition. Residents who need diabetic care need to be taken care of by experienced nursing staff with some level of medical training.
- Incorrect Medication – Serious illnesses and injuries can come from taking the wrong medication. In some cases, it can even be fatal.
- Bad Hygiene – Staff members, residents, and the facility itself should be kept clean and well-groomed. If the facility is not kept up to state standards, it increases the risk of illness and infection.
- Infections – Injuries and poor living conditions are the most common causes of infections. They can cause a high degree of discomfort for residents, and in some instances, permanent injury or death.
- Sepsis – Sepsis is a serious type of infection can cause extreme inflammation in the body. Residents who have sepsis can slip into septic shock, which is deadly.
How to Stay Healthy
Staying healthy in a nursing home is not sole responsibility of the staff. Residents have several things they can do to make their lives better and easier. Here are a couple of examples of things residents can do to help ensure they are as healthy as possible.
- How Nursing Home Residents Can Remain Active – This resource covers the importance of remaining physically active and helps walk residents through various things they can do. It also explains the importance of each activity.
- Nursing Home Facts And Basic Information – If you are considering moving into a nursing home, or are already in one and are not happy with your care, this site has a lot of important information for you. It not only has basic statistical information for you to review, it also has a checklist to help seniors and family members find the perfect nursing home.
- Keeping Nursing Home Residents Engaged – This blog post explains several ways that nursing homes and the residents that live in them can increase their physical, emotional, and mental health by staying active and engaged with each other.
- Transitioning To A Nursing Home Or Changing Care – Moving into a new nursing home or a change in your care routine can be stressful for residents. Here are tips for nursing home newcomers, as well as long-term residents that can make life easier.
- Keeping Your Mind Sharp Keeps You Healthier – Mind over matter. Willpower and brain power are some of the most important aspects of human existence. Here is a list of 100 different ways nursing home residents can keep their wits and have fun at the same time.