As the fall begins to concede to winter and the holiday season creeps up on many Americans, the spirits of generosity and pressures of family gatherings swirl together. One often overlooked part of this ritual is the tradition of nursing home holiday visits from family and friends.
Though some residents regularly receive checkups from family and friends throughout the year, the Miami News Record recently shared a statistic that over 60% of nursing home residents have never had a visitor during their stay. The Record invited readers to volunteer their time by making nursing home holiday visits this season.
Though it may seem like a minor inconvenience to some, visiting residents in nursing homes has a twofold impact. On the surface, visiting nursing home residents is a valuable experience to members of society who are often isolated from the rest of the world. By making nursing home holiday visits a priority, a stranger can give a resident insight into the goings-on of the world outside their walls.
In addition to providing moral support for residents, a steady stream of visitors can also help ensure the safety and dignity of all residents. With regular visits, residents have a higher chance of being able to draw attention to issues of neglect or abuse in their nursing home. Similarly, a nursing home may reconsider understaffing their homes if there are visitors frequently around to report on the facility’s shortcomings.
Most importantly, however, is the impact that nursing home holiday visits have on residents. By bringing leftovers, gifts, or just activities to engage in together, volunteers can make a genuine difference in the lives of nursing home residents by making them feel remembered and valued. As the stresses of the holiday season enclose the nation once more, these small gestures can make an enormous difference in the lives of the thousands of nursing home residents across the nation.
For more information on steps that can be taken to assist and protect elderly nursing home residents, visit the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys’ Facts and Statistics Page.