Just because people grow older does not mean they abandon their dreams and desires, and it is important to help find ways that the elderly can continue these pursuits.
Interview No. 2: “Ron D.”:
What do you see as the most important needs for long-term care residents in skilled nursing facilities?
Loneliness is far and away one of the biggest problems we see in our facility. It breaks my heart to see elders who we know have family members never receive a visit from anyone. Some of our residents just seem to become depressed, give up and lose the will to live when they are lonely.
How does your facility address these needs?
We have regularly scheduled activities in our center, of course, but we also try to get our residents out in the world as much as possible. We take those who are physically able to local events two or three times a week and these are well attended.
Do you have any advice for caregivers contemplating placing family members in skilled nursing facilities?
Clearly, not all centers are the same. If a loved one has serious physical limitations and requires intensive care, it would probably be best to find a skilled nursing facility that specializes in this type of care.
What can be done to better address the needs of long-term care residents in skilled nursing facilities?
Family members need to become more active in the lives of long-term care residents, and even a card or letter in the mail would help.
The research showed that the elderly segment of the population of the United States is growing rapidly, and is projected to double for white elders and skyrocket as much as 540% for ethnic minorities by 2030. Although just over 5% of these elders will require long-term care in a skilled nursing facility, these numbers still translate into a significant increase in demand.
The research was also consistent in showing that although funding is available for long-term care through Medicaid and Medicare, these funding mechanisms are flawed in several ways that adversely affect the ability of some people who desperately need it to gain access to long-term care in skilled nursing facilities. Finally, the results of the two telephonic interviews with registered nurses working in skilled nursing facilities confirmed that loneliness and depression are commonplace among elders, but that by helping elders remain actively engaged emotionally and spiritually can help offset some of these effects.
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