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BREAKING NEWS

Celebrate National Nursing Home Week

By Staff | May 13, 2011

National Nursing Home Week is May 8-14, a great time to take stock in the role that long-term care facilities play in our society.

Many years ago, when America had primarily an agrarian culture, extended families saw to the needs of elderly. While Dad went off work making barrels, running a blacksmith shop or farming, Mom would stay in the home and care for Grandma or Grandpa. It was a structure that seemed to work.

However, with a more urban culture, and with both parents working (Iowa incidentally has the highest percentage in the nation of both parents working), we have come to count on long-term facilities to take on a role that was once relegated to families.

And they have done admirably well.

When you enter long-term facilities such as the Good Samaritan Society or Rosewood Manor in Estherville, you get a wonderful sense of home. In fact, Rhonda Russell, Good Sam activities assistant, at the recent volunteer appreciation luncheon warmly expressed what a privilege it was for employees and visitors to enter the residents’ home.

That’s exactly as it should be.

The Red Hat Ladies visited Rosewood residents Thursday for some fun and games. Everyone appreciated it and talked about what a great time it was.

The role that long-term facilities has played over the past 40 or so years has changed dramatically. And you can look for it to change even more as Baby Boomers age into retirement and beyond.

Long-term care facilities will likely be challenged to respond to greater demands – demands for more services and activities than they have been able to provide in the past.

However, they will most certainly be up to the challenge.

Just as our nursing homes have made great strides over the past 40 years, they will continue to improve into the middle of this century.

We, too, can play a role in this dynamic change. First of all, we can visit our relatives in long-term care. Beyond that, though, we can support programs that create a better quality of life for our residents living in nursing facilities.

We can also ask our lawmakers to ensure that our elderly don’t get the short end of the stick when it comes to legislation affecting Medicaid reimbursement (Iowa is dead last) and freezing cost-of-living increases to retirees at a time when the price of groceries and utilities is increasing. These issues severely impact our elderly and long-term care facilities.

So if you know someone who works in a long-term care facility, thank that person. You’ll be thanking a person whose role is to act as a family member.

And that is truly a noble act.