Nursing homes are sometimes still referred to as “Old Folks Homes” or other colloquial phrases indicating them as a space filled only with the elderly. While senior citizens are obviously the most in need of these skilled nursing facilities, the Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at our firm know that there are actually a good amount of young individuals at these homes. At the end of the day, these nursing homes are places for all individuals who do not need to stay in a hospital but who need care that cannot be provided at home.
However, the fact remains that younger residents often face social challenges that are often not met at these facilities. Their plight is a hidden one, as few consider the lifestyle consequences for younger people living in long-term care homes. A recent Medical Express article went so far as to explain how these individuals were denied basic human rights.
The story shared information on new research published by the Summer Foundation. The study (found here) evaluated the quality of life for young people living in nursing homes. Expectedly, the underlying theme was that there are serious ramifications for those individuals such that everything possible should be done to move these younger individuals out of these facilities and into alternative living arrangements
Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers appreciate that this was a comprehensive research effort, evaluating individuals over a five year period. Entitled, “Younger People in Residential Aged Care,” the research sought to examine the effect on program participants who took advantage of alternative living options. In particular, about 500 people under age fifty were involved. Half of the group avoided nursing homes altogether while the other half left a nursing home where they previously lived.
What did the researchers find?
Those not in nursing homes scored far better on a range of quality of life indicators. The main benefit, claim the researchers, is the opportunity to make everyday choices. One of the key problems with nursing home life for younger individuals is the highly structures lifestyle that often leaves little room for creativity or individual choice. In some ways this structure is important to prevent nursing home neglect that leads to accidents for the most vulnerable residents. But, that does not mean there is no room for flexibility.
For example, the study found that the lack of materials and too much structure often means that basic human rights is denied to these residents. For example, many nursing homes have rigid locked doors schedules, denying residents access to the outside. This means that many residents are literally locked into the home without the chance to interact with others as they might like
Some of these challenges are natural outgrowths of an institution that is aiding individuals with various needs. The care needed by a 85 year old man with dementia is far different than a 38 year old woman. But that does not mean that these facilities can do nothing to make the experience better for the younger residents. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers know that many different quality of life initiatives can be undertaken to maximize the freedom and potential thrive for all residents–regardless of their age. Those quality of life programs should be fully explored.
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