The sands of time have been kicked in our faces. More American families than ever find themselves struggling to balance the needs of three or more generations all at once.
The average person can expect to live decades longer than previous generations, according to the CDC. (1) Baby Boomers are finding themselves redefining what it means to get older and what it means to be retired. They’re caring for their parents, for themselves, and also for their adult children who, though physically healthy, are often crippled by student debt.
“When it comes to the growing demand for caregiving, the numbers just don’t add up. The United States, like many industrialized countries, is looking down the barrel of a looming care gap. As my fellow Baby Boomers move headlong into old age — we are now retiring at a rate of about 10,000 per day — there may not be enough caregivers to go around,” writes Jody Gastfriend, a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years’ experience in senior care and VP of Senior Care at Care.com. (2)
And while two simultaneous generations are causing the need for geriatric care to skyrocket, the number of caregivers available aren’t showing signs of keeping up.
According to the Times, caregiver roles are “so unappealing that it is hard to keep workers in them: four in 10 leave the occupation entirely within a year. Many prefer the fast-food business. ” (3)
Unfortunately, some long term care facilities are finding that not only is good help hard to find, but bad help is in need of weeding out.
Nursing Home Staffers Accused of Taunting 91-Year-Old Patient
Abington of Glenview, an Illinois nursing home, is facing a lawsuit after two staff members were terminated and arrested for allegedly taunting a 91-year-old dementia patient, Margaret Collins. (4)
The two certified nursing assistants were arrested with misdemeanor charges, after a Snapchat video from December surfaced of the pair allegedly waving a hospital gown in Collins’ face. A caption on the video read “Margaret hates gowns 😂😂” (5)
In a statement, Abington of Glenview, wrote that both staff members were immediately terminated. But family members of Margaret Collins dispute this, claiming it took the nursing home a week to respond to the incident after being informed of what happened. (4)
Margaret Collins’ family has filed a lawsuit, accusing the Abington of violating the Nursing Home Care Act, HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), and state privacy laws. (5)
“You just can’t believe you’re seeing this,” Joan Biebel, Collins’ daughter, told Chicago’s WGN-TV. “You think your mom is safe and now this is going on. You’re just trying to figure out what the heck is happening here.” (5)
Collins has been moved to a new long term care facility. (4)
What to Look for When Visiting a Long Term Care Home
All nursing homes must comply with state regulations, and nursing homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding are regularly inspected against federal regulations.
Nevertheless, long term care facility regulations are far from perfect. They’ve been a pain point in public policy for decades. (6) It’s very important that family members take responsibility for their loved ones’ care in long term care facilities (just like you would be responsible for advocating for your own health).
A few things to consider: (7)
- Drop in to visit your loved one during different times of the day
- Look for signs of discontent among other residents
- Be aware of the smells, sights, and temperature in the nursing home
- Ask about your loved one’s medical care routine. Who is their primary doctor? How often do they see them?
- Share a meal with your loved one. Check that any dietary requirements are being met
- Get to know the facility staff on a personal level
- Ensure your loved one is receiving the individual care they need (ex. programs for people with dementia, programs for people in need of physical therapy). Try to drop in one some of these sessions.