I read with great interest John O'Connor's article "10 Bold Predictions About the Year Ahead in Long Term Care" that appeared in McKnight's Long Term Care. Unfortunately, 9/10 of the predictions are negative.
Sadly, his predictions are not off base. Therefore, what needs to happen to turn-around the negative narrative about nursing homes?
One possible answer I found also appeared in McKnight's. GaryTetz discussed the idea of a growing societal appreciation of seniors. Could this be true? Is society developing a stronger appreciation for seniors? If we genuinely valued seniors, our long term care system would not be in such a mess. Accordingly, we would have a vital and thriving long term care system that isn't fighting for survival every day.
None of us individually has the power to change societal views or unwind the overwhelming challenges in long term care. In addition, the negativity that swirls around the long term care industry can hijack our energies and make us forget why we work in this business.
For this reason, we must remember that we have the power and responsibility to celebrate and honor our seniors.
Changing the Long Term Care Narrative
An organization that honors seniors is "One Dream." Located in the Chicago area, One Dream is a not for profit that was created in 2014 to bring happiness, meaning, and excitement into the lives of deserving, lower-income seniors. They make dreams come true for seniors and restores dignity and hope.
Bethesda Rehab and Senior Care, a skilled nursing community in Chicago, celebrates the creativity of their seniors by hosting an annual art exhibition, showcasing their works of fine art.
The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, IL, has their assisted living residents write blogs for their website. As an example, this is a tremendous way to honor the wisdom of their seniors.
In conclusion, the Long Term Care Industry should drive the narrative about the vibrant lives of their seniors. To that end, let's continue to celebrate our seniors more loudly and boldly than ever before!
It would be amazing to see more positives on the McKnight's list for 2021.
Julie has worked in Aging Services for over 30 years and has been a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator since 1990. She is a Certified Master Trainer with the AGE-u-cate Training Institute. Through her company Enlighten Eldercare, Julie provides training and educational programs on elder caregiving for family and professional caregivers. In addition, she is an instructor and the Interim Director of Gerontology at Northern Illinois University and lives in the Chicago Northwest Suburb of Mount Prospect, IL.