Despite our best efforts to live full and engaged lives for as long as possible, many of us may spend the final stage of their lives in nursing homes, adult homes or assisted living facilities. When members of my family have been in this situation and experienced challenges with their care, I often acted as their advocate with facility staff. While not always successful in resolving the issues, I hope that my efforts made their situation a bit more tolerable.
Sadly, many older persons don’t have a family member of friend to visit and to help with issues that inevitably arise in any type of senior care facility. Often this is caused by chronically short staff which results in nurses / aides who are overworked and/or unable to provide quality care, despite good intentions. Fortunately, the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is specifically designed to provide an outlet for residents who need someone to help them to resolve problems while residing at these sites.
This week I started the process of applying to be a volunteer ombudsperson with Family & Children’s Association (FCA), which serves older persons in Long Island, NY where I live. In this role, I hope to make sure that seniors are aware of this valuable service, and to provide assistance when needed.
None of us choose to spend our later years in this type of situation, but unfortunately sometimes there is no other option. By working as an ombudsperson, I will do my best to ensure that older persons are treated with dignity and respect while residing at a nursing home, adult home or assisted living facility. While I’ve done considerable work with seniors in recent years, this may be the most important role of all.
For more information, visit the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.