The COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation, killing more than 184,000 residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The post pandemic response to this massacre has been confusion, doubt, and indecision on the part of the elderly and their caregivers about the use of long-term care facilities.
It is undeniable that most of us prefer not to look too closely at what goes on in nursing homes across the country. In fact, unless we have a need of nursing home services for ourselves or for our elderly loved ones, we hardly notice them at all. This, of course, is a natural aversion to sickness, aging, and death. However, after COVID-19 ravaged the elderly population in nursing homes, infecting 654,000 residents and killing 132,000 elderly Americans, social workers began to take a closer look at how nursing homes are run and how we can improve the service they seek to provide.
We were surprised by the results of our recent mini-poll, when we asked six case workers serving our elder population what they considered the most pressing current problem elders are facing. 3 out of 6 (50%) said, "internet scams". Internet scams?! What’s going on now? What kind of scoundrel would cheat the elderly out of the last of their nest egg?
Case workers tell us that the shameful practice of scamming seniors is on the rise. With the elderly population growing, seniors racked up more than $3 billion in losses this past year. Case workers say that the heart-breaking irony of elder fraud is that seniors are targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite.
Everyone knows how the pandemic walloped the elderly in 2020. Nursing homes became the epicenter of COVID-19 deaths. No, Mr. Sinatra, it was not “a very good year” for the elderly.
Our senior population continues to grow, with the aging of the baby boomers. And with the glut of older citizens comes a glut of issues that elder care workers must deal with. There are health issues – both physical and mental. Muscles and bones get weaker, senses start to fail – hearing, eyesight, even touch, taste and smell, in some cases. And then there’s the loss of mental facilities. About 10% of people over 65 suffer from some form of dementia and it goes up to 32% for those over 85.
Our friend, Kent Elliot has submitted a great guide to our blog that I wanted to share with you today. Read on to learn about fall prevention best practices that can help seniors age in place safely. In the article he covers a variety of topics, including which home modifications help prevent falls, tips on lifestyle changes that aid in fall prevention, and more.
Throughout life, we may find ourselves having difficult conversations with our loved ones. There is never an easy way to approach these, and some can be upsetting to even think of. Discussing end-of-life arrangements is perhaps one of the hardest to reconcile, yet it can be one of the most important conversations we can have.
The San Francisco board of supervisors recently introduced a budget measure that would raise the minimum wage for nonprofit and in-home supportive service workers from $15/hour to $17/hour. When challenged, the board justified the $13 million added annual expense to the city budget by citing the crisis the home healthcare field is experiencing in San Francisco. It is bleeding workers daily.
The Hospice movement is a humanitarian, patient-centered protocol that is still striving for complete integration into main stream medical practice. Traditional medical regulations, policies, protocols, and cultural norms are geared toward improving the patient’s health and, at the very least, maintaining current levels of patient functioning. Even the metrics used by skilled nursing facilities to assess the quality of care are not congruent with end-of-life care.
Topics: Elderly/Aging Long Term Care
Research shows that most people currently living with dementia have not received a formal diagnosis. In high income countries, only 20-50% of dementia cases are recognized and documented in primary care. This ‘treatment gap’ is certainly much greater in low and middle-income countries, with one study in India suggesting 90% remain undiagnosed. If these statistics are extrapolated to other countries worldwide, it suggests that approximately three quarters of people with dementia have not received a diagnosis and, therefore, do not have access to treatment, care and organized support that getting a formal diagnosis can provide.