National Nursing Home Week Spotlights Programs

ST. MARYS — In the last few years, baby boomers have started retiring, said Golden Living Valley representative Russ Duvall, meaning that in next 5-10 years nursing homes will see more numbers of retirees needing full-time care.

During National Nursing Home Week, which wrapped up Friday, local nursing homes aimed to show the best of what they offer residents as well as getting the community involved in the day-to-day lives of residents.

Marge Luedeke, who works for St. Marys Living Center, said the residents had celebrated all week with activities including having the St. Marys High School Brass ensemble performed, residents planted a tree in honor of maintenance man who had passed, as well as hosting events themed around the 1950s and flowers.

Golden Living Valley celebrated by inviting celebrity bingo caller Miss Ohio to come and visit with residents, as well as having cookouts, staff dress up days and a balloon launch.

Duvall said the programs highlight how the nursing home industry has changed over the last few years.

“Nursing homes aren’t what they used to be,” said Duvall. “There’s a lot more activities, more respite and rehab...Rather than set meal times we have windows. Residents choose when they’re able to rise and go to bed, so if they want to watch the late, late news, they can do that. It’s a less institutional feel. It’s a lot more homey for the residents.”

Often, he said, talking about a nursing home can seem very taboo for family members, but the problem that creates is that then, when something happen to change the situation, like a caregiver needs break, or family can’t provide care needs anymore, or an injury in the winter the situation is made more stressful because the topic is introduced for the first time.

“From a conversation standpoint, sometimes easier to have the conversation earlier...It takes the taboo out of it.”

He said a person may not have bad associations or may want to go to a home they remember visiting a relative in, because the relative was happy.

“The more you talk the less stressful it is,” he said.

Luedeke said that the public can support nursing homes by visiting and volunteering their talents.

“Volunteering is a huge thing. Come in to read to a resident, share your talent.

Play a harmonica, sing one song, arrange flowers. It’s vast, it’s endless,” she said. “It’s so wide open what you could do. It’s just important to have the human touch.”

She said nursing home residents have had interesting lives to share as well.

“When I interview them, I ask about the top 5 things they have ever done in their life,” she said. “There’s everything...painters, readers, some enjoy getting out of building seeing sights they haven’t seen.”