Everyone has or knows of a family member who is getting older and requiring a little more help as they do so. These aging gems are all around. They’re your mother and father, grandma and grandpa or perhaps maybe a dear friend, but unfortunately these once valued human beings are becoming the unspoken burden on society. Caring for a friend or family member is a hard job, inconvenient, and sometimes not practical, which is why millions and millions of Americans make the decision to hire outside help. Sometimes an in home caregiver or nurse, others place their elderly loved ones in nursing homes where they assume they are getting good help and being taken care of. Studies have shown that over 1.8 million people are living in nursing homes (Nasser, web). And forty three million Americans rely on a caregiver of some kind (Alzheimer’s Association, web). Unfortunately, there is no real accurate statistic to show regarding the elderly people who are neglected, abused and are receiving unacceptable treatment of all kinds, because not all cases are reported. ? Senior citizens are being neglected, abused, over medicated and left in the hands of inexperienced caregivers on a daily basis to me this treatment is unacceptable.
Anderson 2 I have a lot of experience working with the elderly, I have seen and experienced much beyond my years due to the priceless moments I’ve spent working with these amazing people. I know what it takes to make a good caregiver, which includes but is not limited to spiritual, mental and physical qualities. I started caring for my great grandma when I was seventeen, shortly after my other grandma (her daughter) got sick and I began caring for her as well. They both were diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which for those of you who don’t know is a constriction of the airways which causes difficulty breathing and is very progressive, getting worse over time. Being it such a serious job, I quickly developed the skills it took for their medical needs through their nurses weekly visits and realized the natural need to take care of them came natural. Most of all I discovered the mutual rewards and the bond it created between my grandmothers and me. I continued with my passion as a caregiver after they passed away the following year.
Ten years later I am in the same lime of work, but with much more knowledge, skill, and understanding pertaining to the field as a whole. A few years ago I worked at a nursing home where my eyes were opened and I saw the unacceptable treatment towards elderly that thousands are receiving to this day. I would see elderly clients being overly medicated so the staff did not have to “deal” with them or hear them complain about wet diapers or “ramble on” with their stories. The poor patients sat lined down the hallway just to catch a glance of entertainment or human interaction as the nurses shuffled past them without a second glance. It was during this time that I realized I viewed these people much differently than most and that all of these people deserved treatment. When visiting days came it was funny how the nurse’s demeanor would change towards the clients. Their hair was Anderson 3 brushed, they were changed out of their hospital gowns and put in their personal clothing, and everyone was just sweet as pie.
It disgusted me so bad I quit on a days notice, and only returned to visit with my children with some of the folks I had grown to love. I vowed to myself that I would never place a loved one in a “home” nor would I ever contribute or work at one of those places. I then heard my calling; I was to change elderly people’s lives one by one. I became a caregiver strictly for in-home care and now adore taking care of seniors who rely on honest hard work from the heart. Some of these people are bedridden and need help with everything including bathing, dressing & help walking, but I don’t mind, because I know what amazing people they are and the self satisfaction is a great feeling. Some people fail to see past the demands old age requires and view theses elders as burdens, but they are not burdens at all, more like survivors, mentors, and philosophers, who have made it through this journey we call life barring an old soul and a stories filled with wisdom.
Care centers for elderly are understaffed which puts lots of pressure and stress on those who work there, as well as those who reside there. This problem may leave them tired and not as alert as they should be. Also when the caregivers or heath care workers are sleep deprived they become impatient and irritable, leaving the elderly at higher risk of being mistreated. Aside from being irritable, lack of sleep leads to carelessness and lack of safety precautions on the job. A tired Caregiver may fall asleep on the job and not be there when the patient needs them the most. It’s just as important the caregiver get plenty of sleep and take care of themselves so that they are in the best shape possible to care for the seniors who rely on them.
Anderson 4 Another way in which elderly care is unacceptable is dishonest Caregivers who take advantage of those who are vulnerable and may forget. Many senior citizens suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease which affects the memory area in the brain making it harder and harder for them to remember daily events, people, and objects or even who they are all together. These diseases progress quickly and there is no cure. Lack of memory leaves these people vulnerable and many caregivers take advantage of them if there is not a close network of people who work together to monitor things. Elderly neglect, abuse, and stealing is much less likely to happen if friends and family pitch in and take rotation on visiting regularly to prevent this.
You should also be keeping a close eye on personal property around the house and the finances of your loved one. The little things we can do for our senior friends won’t save the world, but it will surely make a difference. And if you can make a difference is someone’s life, then maybe someone will take the time for you when your time is near. The elders of today exist everywhere we see, these people are special and deserve to be treated better. Elderly people are not only the link to your past, but they are who you will be someday; the link to your future. They were once were the future generation and the hope of America like the young people of today. Without these people we would not have advanced so far in science and won the wars that were fought in order for all of us to still be living in a free country. We have to do something; the way things are, are unacceptable and need to change.