The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the average American now lives to 77 years of age. That number has been on the rise for the last several decades.
As Americans live longer, there has been an increase in the number of nursing homes opening in the U.S. Nursing homes offer a safer place for the elderly or infirm to live. These alternative living quarters are for older Americans who are unable to care for themselves.
But as more older Americans move into nursing homes, we also see rising numbers of abuse and neglect cases in these facilities.
Families facing the prospect of a loved one being admitted as a resident to one of these nursing homes find that it is an important — and often difficult — decision. Not only must the cost be considered, but also the safety record of the nursing facility.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, between 1-2 million Americans 65 or older have been injured or abused by someone in a nursing home facility. Many times the injury or abuse was committed by someone the elderly relied upon for protection.
As a family member, the best way to protect a resident of a nursing home facility is to visit frequently and become known to staff. Most would agree that frequent and irregularly timed visits are important in assuring that the resident is well cared for.
It goes without saying that frequent visits are also a comfort to a resident who now finds himself or herself in a strange and different place.
When visiting a resident of a nursing home, be sure to take the resident on frequent excursions outside the facility. Residents need exercise. Even the simplest act of taking the resident to a local store, coffee shop, shopping center or restaurant is invigorating for the body and will increase the nutrients and oxygen that a resident needs.
One of the more common health issues for a resident of a nursing facility is one who is immobilized for extended periods and develops bedsores. These typically occur over bony areas on the back, hips, heels and ankles. The later staged bedsore can cause infection, sepsis and even death.
When visiting nursing homes, make sure that the resident has clean skin, is eating, is getting moved and has clean bed sheets and bathroom facilities.
With more Americans reaching the age of 65 and living longer, nursing home facilities have become crowded and short staffed generally. That means extra help is needed by visitors to ensure health and safety of loved ones.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home and abuse cases for more than 36 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Buffalo Grove, Park Forest, Chicago (Marquette Park), Chicago (Chinatown), Melrose Park, Elmwood Park, River Forest and Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.
Related blog posts:
Guidelines for Selecting a Nursing Home for the Elderly
Illinois Nursing Home Safety Bill To Protect Seniors From Nursing Home Abuse Signed by Governor
Chicago Nursing Home Inspections May Be Compromised – Suspicions That Nursing Home Owners Tipped Off