My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Crisis of Another Kind

I spent the last two nights at work in a small Home for the Aged in our community. Many of those who work there are in our 50's. Our resident are as young as 60 and as old as 100. Frail elders are being cared for by aging caregivers.

Few students will choose Geriatrics as a line of work that they wish to pursue. I can hardly blame them. This work can become mundane and repetitive. Residents who are forced to live in such an environment will attest to the fact that life inside the walls of these facilities is hardly desirable. They will tell you that life is very different from before they became ill enough to need care.

Individuality is non existent. Conformity is the rule. (That is how order is kept when dealing with such a large number of people. )

The biggest challenge is staffing. As workers age, so does the frequency of injury. There are never enough workers to provide the care that is so deserving of our elders. Those workers that do show up to work are quickly approaching "burnout' from the stress of constantly running short of staff and having to make up the difference. Management seldom show their faces on the floor. The workload expectation never changes, regardless of the staffing issues.

The nursing crisis is here. How then is it that the "powers to be" can close hospital beds and lay off nursing staff??? My best friend who is a nurse, recently was told that she will be getting her "pink slip." She is talented and young. WHAT are they thinking???

Climate change...Global warming...poverty...war....disease....hunger...escalating population and nurse shortage....unemployment....crime... It is all so discouraging. What can an individual do? Lobbying for change is a start. Pressure your politicians. Become informed. Take small steps to work towards a better world for us all.

Sorry if this post is a little dark. Sometimes it all seems a little overwhelming.


  1. First of all I want to say that I admire you for the work you do. I am sure that it is very draining in many ways. I don't think I could do it.
    The health care issue is a big one here in our community also. We have a dr/nurse shortage and we have outgrown our 100 plus year old hospital. We were supposed to break ground on the new one this year but because of financial issues it has been put off again. Then IF the financial issues ever get situated, they will have to re apply for everything again and that takes years.
    Like you said it is overwhelming because it feels like everything is falling apart at the same time. It isn't just one is everything. It is very depressing at times.
    When I start to get down about it all, I just try to remember the blessings I have and live in the moment, not worrying about tomorrow. It is hard though.

  2. I don't know why you are not showing up in my Google Reader. I wracked my brain trying to remember who the "new person" was on my blog and finally found you.

    I read this latest post and have to agree with you. Something must be done about the situation, but frankly I cannot bring myself to go into those nursing homes, they are so incredibly depressing. Something else must happen to make the end of our lives better. But what?

    You are doing some of the hardest work on the planet, and it's probably some of the least recognized. Do you have any ideas of how we could put our energy to good use?

  3. Thanks LA and DJan.

    I only wish I had the answers. From a personal point of view, I do try to focus on the positive and do the best I can to make a difference in the lives of these folks. It is tough though. We are always working short-handed. It is not fair to us or the people we are trying to care for.

    I think that we have to protest... and not just about this issue...but about all those things that need change. Let our politicians know by writing letters and talking to people with any kind of pull.

    My mom and my grandmother ended up in a Nursing Home but they were fortunate that I was on staff and could keep an eye on things. I will do my best to ensure that my dad is looked after at home.

  4. I am a retired R.N. and I have worked in hospitals, home health and ran an Assisted Living facility for the elderly. I have seen all sides of the budget and the needs. It is depressing. Nursing staffing should be the last to be cut, but sometimes hospitals do it to hire Doctors and pay them a lot to generate more money. Government paperwork takes up too much of everyone's time in the health care arena. There are no easy answers!