Improving Our Nursing Homes Through Community Engagement

August 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Ask Viki

An article from Hayes Rowan about improving the nursing homes.

Reclaiming Our Heritage

In his quixotic campaign to save Cleveland’s John Marshall High School from demolition, a dedicated soul (forgive me please for mentioning him) declaimed “The right of the community to hold onto its heritage is a basic one.”

Landmark buildings are good. Our greatest legacy though is in the nursing homes (or hopefully in their own homes) – our elders, who taught us to tie our shoes, cheered us when we sang the blues, made us breakfast lunch and dinner years through and through; who know us often better than we know ourselves, and that’s true.

There are many ways of turning the nursing homes, our living heritage, into centers of civic activity – meeting places for block clubs, scout troops, library reading circles, leagues of women voters.

For that heritage, and our right to hold onto it, is imperiled.

A few years ago, Clevelander Steve Piskor had to put a video camera in his mother’s room at our county’s nursing home to uncover the abuses she was enduring.([1]) Raised her son right, and lucky she did.

A study in an Atlanta GA nursing home, cited in the June ’06 Ladies Home Journal, found nearly half the residents had been punched, kicked, or choked.

We can and really must build new bridges between nursing homes and neighborhoods – bring movies in to enjoy with the residents; hold sewing bees with them, helping them mend their favorite clothes. Create indoor gardens, and outdoor. Those of you with affectionate dogs – a great opportunity for truly meaningful engagement with your community.

Attention: families who protest abuses often find themselves barred from even visiting their loved ones. Patricia McGinnis, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform: “We’re seeing more retaliation like this than ever before against families who try to protect their parents.”

For some long-term residents – especially those without strong family ties – it can be a form of imprisonment, as Mike Bright told a Texas jury recently. Walk some halls and you will see the truth of his words.

MacArthur Fellow Marie Connolly says abused elders receive little or no protection from any system or agency. It may be one reason she resigned from justice department, DOJ.

Many of you know the poster in the 2nd Police District lobby, circulated years ago by our county’s Adult Protective Services. It portrays the photograph of an elderly woman in a picture frame; the glass is shattered.

The caption proclaims: “THE ABUSE NO ONE TALKS ABOUT”.

What to do? Jesus told us, “Visit the sick.”

Your mission … should you choose to accept.

Improving Our Nursing Homes

Published in Acorn Press, Ridgefield, CT.

Bringing Kindness to Nursing Homes from Hayes Rowan

June 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Ethics In Action

Here is another wonderful idea Hayes Rowan sent to me for how we can show love and comfort to those who might need a little support. Here is what he wrote:

Like to ask, if we may, all you good folks out there to make two bouquets of dried flowers this summer, & bring one to the nearby nursing home, giving it to the first resident whose eyes brighten at the sight of it – & chances are that won’t take too long.

The fleurs will last all winter – their staying power of course is much greater than fresh flowers. And most dry just beautifully: Lavender, Roses, Daffodils, Daisies, Garlic Chives, Statice, Strawflowers, Mums, the Purple Alium, Marigolds & more. But petunias & impatiens, tulips & their like – they don’t dry so well.

If you’re not a gardener, ten to one the neighbor who is will happily contribute.

How to? Cut the stems long & bind small bunches at the base with light wire or whathaveyou. Hang them upside down – perhaps with improvised S-hooks and an unused fishing rod perched horizontally (upside down to keep the stems from buckling under the blossoms’ weight). This will give flowers with longer, slender petals, like Daisies, a sort of exuberant look, recalling Joyce Kilmer & her trees that look at God all day, lifting their leafy arms to pray. (Might have to tighten that wire once or twice as the stems dry out.) Oh yes, salad dressing bottles & such, make for quite serviceable vases.

We’d like to hear if you do this, and something of your interaction in the long-term care facility.

– Joyce Kilmer

Never underestimate the powers of flowers.
– anon

Have a kind and respectful day.