Below are a few more simple ways to help those that may be struggling from isolation and loneliness living in a nursing home.
- Become an ombudsman volunteer in a nursing home! The state will train you and you only have to dedicate two hours a week and you can make your own hours. Nursing homes are in desperate need of more volunteers. You must be certified by the state and it only requires 36 hours of training, most of which can be done online. To find out more go here: https://www.cidny.org/ltcop/
The Nursing Home Card Project strives to not only alleviate the loneliness of those living in nursing homes, but also to make sure that residents do not suffer abuse or neglect. An ombudsman is an official appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities. The job of an ombudsman is very important in a nursing home. He or she listens to complaints and concerns of nursing home residents and makes sure THEY ARE HEARD, SEEN AND RESPECTED. The general public is not engaged in nursing homes and residents say they almost feel incarcerated and don’t get to speak out. You can help them immensely in this role!
In the state of New York, here is how to become an ombudsman:
Contact Mary Jane Wolper, Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Volunteer Coordinator for New York City at CIDNY (Center for Independence of the the Disabled, NY)
- Important Action Steps as stated by PHYSICIANS FOR A NATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM:
National Action Items:
- Sign up for the Protect Medicare campaign, and contact your congress members to tell them to oppose ACO-REACH which further privatizes Medicare.
- Sign up for the Stop Wall Street Looting Act campaign.
- Call your Representative and Senators (congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121) and tell them you support and they should sign-on as co-sponsors of the following (note that bills will be reintroduced with new numbers in 2023):
New York State Action Items:
- Use this tool to contact your state reps and tell them to take action to#PassNYHealth now;
- NY Health Act provides comprehensive health coverage for every New Yorker
- For the additional NYS legislation listed below contact your NYS Senator & Assembly Member:
- Assembly & call 518-455-4100
- Senate & call 518-455-28001
- Ask them to support and move to passage the following:
- Chain Retail Medical Clinics
[2021-22 Bill# A.216 (Gottfried), S.9276 (Rivera)]:
Defines chain clinics and restricts them to unscheduled episodic care.
- For Profit Nursing Homes
[2021-22 Bill# A.5842 (Gottfried), S.5269 (Rivera)]:
Prohibits new for-profit nursing homes; limits existing ones to their current bed capacity.
- For-Profit Hospices
[2021-2022 Bill# A.8472 (Gottfried), S.9387 (Krueger)]:
Prohibits new for-profit hospices; limits existing ones to their current capacity.
- Chain Retail Medical Clinics
3. Check out this website. Pioneer Network, our Council of Elders, and Live Oak Institute have organized the Live Oak Project as an unprecedented, multi-level initiative to transform the long-term care system–from what happens in the halls of Washington to what happens in each person’s room.
For a copy of the Call to Action and to find out how you can get involved, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Follow the amazing work of the Gray Panthers. This organization fights ageism and for social justice, working to create a more humane society. Join their ”Transformational Tuesdays” series and consider volunteering in their many wonderful social justice causes: https://www.graypanthersnyc.org
5. Find your local nursing home. EVERY PERSON SHOULD KNOW WHERE THEIR LOCAL NURSING HOME IS! Here’s how: Go to this website. Type in your location, the provider type (nursing home or long term care) and then hit “search.” You will instantly learn the name and address of your nearest nursing home, as well as it’s location on the map.
6. Read about the tremendous work Nancy Kusmaul PHD, MSW is doing on promoting social justice for the elderly on this website.
7. Nancy’s research promotes social justice for the oldest and frailest of older adults and professional caregivers by focusing on organizational culture, trauma informed care, and the impact of trauma experiences on workers and care recipients.
8. If you are a New Yorker, get familiar with this website and go to a meeting:
9. Over 47,000 NYC children lost parents to Covid. 1.6 million people died from Covid in the USA. Please read more on how to honor those whose died and move forward here.
10. Make a pen pal. Call a nursing home and ask if they can recommend a resident with little family or friends and suggest becoming his/her pen pal, writing a letter once every week. If you feel really inspired, you can include a self-addressed and stamped letter and card to yourself so he/she may respond.
11. Call the activities director of a nursing home within your community or from the list of nursing homes we are sponsoring to set up a “telephone buddy” or simply just to talk to one of the residents residing within that nursing home. This is a great activity to allow the residents some peace in just simply having a conversation with someone and filling their alone time with a weekly phone call. This is a commitment that residents will be looking forward to each week, so do not fall in this commitment. Even better – commit to visiting a nursing home resdient once a week or twice a month.
12. Donate skid-proof socks to residents at a nursing home. These socks help prevent falls; if a resdient is ambualory and gets up in the middle of the night, this will prevent slipping and falling on the floor. Below are links of where you can purchase them:
- Amazon.com : amazon no slip socks
- Socks | Compression Socks | Fall Management Socks | Carewell
- Grip Socks (walmart.com)
(Click this link: Pro Remarks discussing the additional benefits of skid proof socks).
13. Additional fun ways to help can include the holidays coming just around the corner. Art is a simple yet effective way to engage residents and make them smile. You could decorate a pumpkin to sit outside a resident’s door with Halloween coming up.
14. Support people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers here:
15. Help caregivers by visiting this amazing website offering webinars and support groups to people caring for those with Alzheimer’s.
If you need any help caring for a loved one, emotionally or practically
- Call the Nation Toll-Free Helpline sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association at 866-232-8484. It is answered 24 hours a day.
- Donate to the Alzheimer’s Suport group to keep their amazing programs going. You simply cannot do this alone. Click here to donate.
- If you see or suspect abuse or neglect of an elder loved one in a nursing home, you can contact the long-terms care ombudsman in your state. Each state has their own. The job of the ombudsman is to be a point of contact and a resource so the complaints of nursing home residents and their families can be addressed in a respectful and productive way. Complaints can range from the quality of food, to the possible cases of isolation or abuse or neglect.
For New York State, you can contact this website:
“If neglect or abuse is suspected, families can file complaints with the NYS DOH and the NYS Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. They can also contact their local District Attorney’s Office. They can of course also contact an attorney who focuses on nursing home neglect and abuse cases.
Regarding ombudsman, the National Consumer Voice website has a link to search for ombudsman. Families should also be able to Google the ombudsman program for their state.
- The LTCCC has a wonderful website with many resources for families and data on nursing homes for each state.
This comes from Deborah Truhowsky herself and we can’t recommend her enough! If you need a phenomenal elder care attorney who can help represent your elder loved one who has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact Deborah F. Truhowsky, Esq.
These are only a few other ways to help the wonderful residents living in nursing homes. Every life matters in this world so please don’t hesitate to start making those cards, helping raise money or volunteering for nursing home activities.