When I read about nursing homes in the news, it's likely to be a disturbing report on nursing home abuse or neglect that makes me understand why people are terrified they will one day have to live in one. There's no tourist information board advertising the shows and activities available to the residents. Rarely is there discussion of the kindnesses done by people who were once strangers, or mention of the friendship and sense of community that develops in long-term care. If all I knew about nursing homes was what I read in the news, I'd be terrified too.
Because of my work, however, I know that for every report of an abusive aide, there are far more aides who carefully assist their charges to look their best, and are the first to notice changes that need attention. For every story about negligence, there are many more nurses healing wounds and keeping a close watch on your loved ones. Every day I see the nursing home staff taking pride in making the residents happy and comfortable.
Those are the stories I'd like to hear. If you have a positive nursing home anecdote, please send it to me by clicking here, which will open up an email window containing my contact. I'd like to feature some of these anecdotes in future blog posts. Your e-mail address will not be posted, and let me know if you'd like to be anonymous. You can also share your experience, anonymously or not, by adding to the comments section at the bottom of this post.
Let's create a more balanced picture of nursing home life.
Dr. Barbera is an author and a licensed psychologist consulting in long-term care facilities in the New York City area. She frequently lectures on subjects related to psychology, aging, and nursing homes. Dr. Barbera is available for private consulting with organizations, institutions, and individuals around eldercare issues. Visit her personal blog at www.mybetternursinghome.blogspot.com.