Aging exempts no one. Unfortunately, some of the elderly developed more health problems and physical declines than others. Elders with such significant impairments required various types of assistances included their basic activities of daily living. These tasks were not always being accomplished safely at home especially when their sons or daughters had children and a full-time job. Despite this concept, in a way, society continues to be biased about the placement of one’s parents into a nursing home as a disgraceful act. Being a medical student then a resident in geriatrics rotation, I learned to acknowledge the burden of caring for the elderly rather continued with my previous superficial judgment. Ability to care for one individual with multiple medical problems and functional declines beyond the financial burden, it included physical and emotional obstacles. Dressing, eating, ambulation, transferring, hygiene, medication management and etc. could be beyond one’s person ability. Thus, the only best available option for some family in caring for their parents or other immediate family members was placement in long-term nursing home. Such decision was not easy as one may expected. I struggled with this idea as imagined placement of my immediate family members in nursing home. I saw closed doors along the sides of the hallways and the empty lounges with occasional one to two occupants in a facility. In concurrent with complaints of not being heard, not being assisted promptly and the abuse in the long-term facility demonstrated in the media worsened the objectivity of this topic.
I am hopeful for changes or resolution in some of these concerns. The business of long-term nursing home should be asked to increase the ratio of nursing-staffs to long-term care residents in its facility. This is the initial step to improve care and fulfill the rising demands of our growing elderly population.