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The Dark Side of Alzheimer’s Care

By Dillon Partin

This Happened to Me

When I was younger, my grandma lived across the street with my aunt. We were always very
close, hanging out and spending time together. For personal reasons, my aunt had to move, and she did not
have room for my grandma to move with her. My grandma did not have enough money to live on her own, so
she moved in with me and my immediate family. A couple of years went by, and she started to forget things
and where she was. We took her to a neuro doctor, and she diagnosed my grandma with dementia which
is the early stages for Alzheimer’s.

My grandma was still able to function on her own and able to go to work. A couple of years went by, and we had to retire her early because she eventually developed Alzheimer’s. We took care of her for years while she still lived in our house, but eventually, we got worn out by taking care of her. She was still able to function by herself, but she forgot a ton of things. We came up with a conclusion to build her a tiny house in our backyard so we could still take care of her, but at
the same time, have a space to relax and unwind. She got diagnosed when I was eight. When I was
eighteen, my dad got diagnosed with brain cancer, so we had to put her in a memory care facility because
we could not take care of them both. When we were looking for a good facility to place her in, the
problem with health care issues around Alzheimer’s started to come to light to us.

My Story is not Unique, Here’s the Problem

The story of my grandma getting Alzheimer’s is not unique because there are nearly 500,000 new cases of
Alzheimer’s each year (1). Just because these people with Alzheimer’s can’t remember anything is not an
excuse to treat them the way they are being treated. It is very unethical and inhumane for this problem to
be as big as it is. Efforts need to be improved in nursing homes, and it was suggested that 64% of
Medicare beneficiaries are living in these homes (2). This is at a very high, alarming rate; this really makes me upset considering that my grandma is in a nursing home. This problem with the care of patients
in these nursing homes needs to be addressed at the state and federal level.

Due to COVID, nursing home problems are being brought to light to the Department of Health and
Human Services, also known as the HHS (3). The Department of Health and Human Services announced
that they are setting reforms that will improve quality and safety of nursing home care, hold the nursing
homes accountable, and make the care and the quality of the care more open so that future patients and their
families can make better decisions about which home they would want their loved one to go in (3). I am
glad that this issue is now getting addressed, but I am still not happy about how long it took for the
government to address this problem.

Here is a Non-Profit working to solve the Problem


A nonprofit that is working to help solve this problem is Senior Living. Senior Living is an organization
that has decided to take this problem in their own hands, providing a service that is helping people in this
field and other health care fields that will help you get the care that your loved ones deserve (4). They are
writing articles and putting the problem to the light of the government to try to help get the voices of the
people who suffer heard by the people who can change this problem. They are bringing awareness to an issue that is similar to my story. Their work is great because people who can’t provide for their loved ones that are in need of assisted care can go to them and they will help them out to get the care that they need.

Here’s What You Can Do Right Now


What you can do right now is help me and many others that have suffered from this problem by
writing articles and using your voice to bring light to this problem that tons of people have been affected by. If you have never experienced a situation like this, you should research this health issue
and get familiar with it because in the future, you can get put into a scenario like this. If you are prepared
and aware, you can properly take care of your loved ones. With your help and your perseverance, we can
help change the lives of the patients and their families and give the patients what they deserve while giving the
families the peace that their loved one is getting taken care of.

References

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease: Facts & Figures. BrightFocus Foundation. https://www.brightfocus.org/alzheimers/article/alzheimers-disease-facts-figures#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%20nearly,in%20the%20world%20develops%20dementia.
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease And Nursing Homes. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5767317/
  3. FACT SHEET: Protecting Seniors by Improving and Quality of Care in the Nations Nursing Homes. White House Briefing Room. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/02/28/fact-sheet-protecting-seniors-and-people-with-disabilities-by-improving-safety-and-quality-of-care-in-the-nations-nursing-homes/
  4. This is Our “Why”. Senior Living. https://www.seniorliving.org/about/

Categories: Home, op ed

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