Exploring the impact of isolation in nursing homes

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Firm News |

If you have a parent or loved one in a nursing home, you want to feel that the facility is treating them with the care and dignity they deserve. Unfortunately, isolation in nursing homes is a silent epidemic that often goes unnoticed.

With this in mind, there are things you can do to improve your awareness and protect your loved one’s well-being if they are in a nursing home.

Why does isolation occur in nursing homes?

Isolation is not just about being alone; it’s about feeling disconnected, unseen and unheard. This isolation can stem from various factors:

  • Understaffing: When there are not enough hands to provide care, residents may spend hours alone.
  • Negligent hiring: Care providers who lack empathy and compassion can contribute to a resident’s sense of isolation.
  • Lack of social programs: Without activities to engage in, residents may feel cut off from the world.
  • Overmedication: Excessive use of medications can leave residents disoriented and detached.

The effects of such isolation are profound. Loneliness can lead to worsened and new health concerns, like dementia and heart disease. Residents may also experience mental distress stemming from depression, anxiety and a sense of abandonment.

What can loved ones do to combat isolation?

Thankfully, there’s hope. As a concerned loved one, you can take steps to bridge the gap of loneliness and neglect in nursing homes in a few simple ways:

  • Regular visits: Nothing replaces the joy of face-to-face interaction, so prioritizing visits is crucial. You can also explore options like video chats and regular calls to check in with your loved one.
  • Advocacy: If you notice signs of isolation in your loved ones or when you visit a facility, speak up for better staffing and care practices.
  • Personal touches: Sending letters, sharing photos and setting your loved one up for online church services or book clubs can help them feel connected.
  • Assess the facilities: If you are currently in the process of finding a care facility, be sure to ask about opportunities for residents to engage in their community and spend time with others.

While the issue of isolation is complex, the solutions often lie in simple acts of kindness and advocacy. By being informed and involved, we can ensure the people we love receive the care and attention they deserve.