Ever since I began using the Internet while living in a nursing home, I have wondered how many other residents are online. I myself have been online since 1997, and I would assume there are other nursing home residents who are adept with computers.
Rehab patients in nursing homes would be the most likely to have a computer as they sometimes bring their laptops. I saw a friend a few months ago who told me he was in a nursing home rehabbing from knee surgery. He said his laptop kept him occupied because at age 40, he had little interest in the facility's activities.
These days even some longer stay residents—like myself—bring their own computers with them to the facility, while other residents use a computer that is provided. Despite this, I have not been able to find other nursing home residents online. I have tried different searches and have not come up with a single person, although I regularly communicate with a woman who is also quadriplegic and uses long-term care services in her southwestern community. So there are at least folks with disabilities out there who are online.
I hope that those who read my blog, particularly those in the nursing home industry, could help connect me with other residents. If you know of some residents who use the computer, please direct them to this post and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you think it would be helpful to families who are searching for care for their loved ones to speak with a resident who has lived in a nursing home for almost 15 years, have them contact me as well. When someone must go to a nursing home quickly, it can be devastating, very much like the death of a family member.
While there are resources available for potential residents and families, I still do not think there are enough. For instance, some family members are not very clear about simple things, like the most comfortable attire for residents to wear while living in a nursing home. I suppose most people would never think to ask.
If your nursing home does not have a computer, I would encourage you to get at least a used one for your residents. Some would not be cognitively able, but others may be either quite proficient or eager to learn. They would enjoy playing card games, e-mailing grandchildren, or just reading news on the Internet.
If you read my blog regularly, you know my computer keeps me very involved in life. I think if we can improve the communication of nursing home residents by putting them online, we have done an extraordinary thing.