Seniors: Alternative Living with Consistent Care

Jun 14th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

If you have ever been in a department store in which clerks are reluctant to attend to your needs, then you have known the frustration of wondering why not.  It is the same if you reside in a care facility or have a loved one who does.  It isn’t inexpensive to live in such quarters these days.  Almost any add on, beyond room and board, and one cannot always say much for board, often adds additional costs and fees.

Some employees are sensitive and alert, but others are not.  Some take the time to inquire as to the condition of a resident, while others pass blithely by.  Insensitivity may be the virus that spreads most through such environments.  Or, it may be just lacking in knowing how and what to do.  Poor training, lack of direction, example setting by the administrative staff and creating a conscientious regard for everyone, no matter their condition, are all matters deserving of regular reinforcement and attention.

How does one, whether resident or significant family member, who observes this lack of attentiveness make the point with persons who are in a position to do something about it?

How does one help to discourage the “us versus them” mind set that seems to suggest that residents don’t deserve full, professional and appropriate care 24/7? Criticism is discouraged.  Lack of attention offered to the resident by the staff seems to go unnoticed and unaddressed.

Possibilities for getting attention include some of the following:

Make an appointment with supervisory staff.  If a family member is available, invite them along.

Write out the specific concerns and complaints that pertain to care and keeping issues.

Be detailed.  Note dates and times.  This will mean keeping a diary to refer back to.

If there are other residents who have similar concerns, invite them to do the same as you are.

Ask for a report back within a specific period of time giving information on how and when these concerns have been addressed.

If no action is taken or excuses are given, then be prepared to communicate with top personnel, who may be located elsewhere.

Be sure to send copies to local supervisors and ask that they be copied when management replies. If necessary, ask for an in person audience with top management to air your grievances.

If behaviors following on your letters become hostile or indifferent toward you, then move to step 2 by sending a certified letter to management reporting same.  Ask others to join you, particularly your family, if available, so that you are not alone in your appeals.

If no improvement is forthcoming, there are other steps that can be taken which relate to public relations issues and exposing the facility for its deficiencies.  This normally will involve the possibility of going public.  Such action may have distasteful results and must be considered with great care and planning.

Finally, reports to state licensing boards may be required.  If so, then especially is it important to gather as many persons to sign on with you as possible.  One of the strategies of profit making organizations is to attempt to discredit its critics, no matter how well intended they might be.



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