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First-Hand Portrait of Life Inside an Assisted-Living Facility

What is is really like to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility? Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys are as guilty as anyone of sometimes focusing too much on the medical and protective care provided by these facilities while forgetting about the actual quality of life for seniors. Yet, it is absolutely essential to remember that these facilities are not just warehouses to keep seniors alive. They are actual communities where residents should be able to thrive and spend their time in enriching activities that make their lives worth living.

Sadly, that often isn’t the case. Beyond trying to avoid nursing home neglect and receive basic care, assisted living residents face wealth of mental and emotional challenges. Those challenges often severely decreased residents’ quality of life.

Those challenges were beautifully explained in an article excerpt published in the Washington Post. The story was written by a relatively young nursing home resident and drawn from an extended article published in journal Health Affairs.

The Story
The author was forced to move into an assisted-living facility when he as only 53 years old as a result of complications for early-onset Parkinsons. From the beginning he reported problems with administrators at these facilities. He noted one particularly angry encounter with a facility manager where the manager made clear that the facility did not belong to the resident, he just leased a room, which meant he had less say in decision-making.

The resident is clear in distinguishing the “top down” management decisions of the executives with the care provided by nurses and assistants to residents each day. In many ways the man explains that the day-to-day caregivers are in the same boat as the residents–feeling as if they are living and working in a location owned by others.

Amazingly, the man also explains that many homes–including the one he currently lives at–is not even properly accessible for those in a wheelchair. The man lives in a place with an outdoor patio, but he can’t wheel himself onto it, because the door isn’t wide enough. Similarly, he has never lived at a home where the bathroom sink or mirror is at an accessible level.

Our Chicago nursing home lawyers were particularly touched by one emotional drain on residents that is often ignored–watching as friends pass away around you. The man in this case notes that he has already watched as dozens of friends (“someone you’ve eaten breakfast with every morning for several years”) passes away. Considering the author is considerably younger than those around him (now 62 after eight years in the facility), he expects to see hundreds of friends pass away.

The story is a reminder of the need to conduct proper research, if possible, when deciding between facilities. Not all homes are created equal, and some offer far better care than others, void of nursing home neglect and abuse. It is important to get an idea of the differences between homes and find one that is a good fit for you or your loved one.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

The Dangers of Unlicensed Senior Care Facilities

Minimizing the Use of Restraints in Nursing Homes