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4 Innovative Ways to Improve Quality of Life in Nursing Homes

New ways to improve residents' quality of life in nursing homes.Our nursing home injury attorneys are dedicated to helping residents achieve their best life. Many complications come from growing older, and even more so when you or a loved one lives in a nursing home.

Nursing homes, senior organizations, community programs, and government agencies are all working toward improving residents’ quality of life. Below, we’ve gathered some of the most realistic, original, and least expensive ideas for helping residents enjoy their time in the nursing home.

1. Address Loneliness

Loneliness and isolation can devastate a resident’s health and wellbeing, but, sadly, these issues are often hidden from friends and family.

Residents most at risk of isolation and loneliness often have:

  • Mobility or sensory impairments, like being confined to their bed.
  • Psychological or cognitive conditions, like Alzheimer’s.
  • Language barriers, or are non-English speaking.

With the holidays coming up, now is a great time to talk about these issues. If you know or suspect your loved one is feeling lonely or isolated in their nursing home, suggest practical ways they can forge meaningful connections with other people, such as:

  • Setting up weekly visits or, at the least, phone calls, with friends and family members.
  • Rekindling their passion for and interest in creative, spiritual, or cultural activities. This can be joining a singing or music group, joining art classes, cooking, or gardening.
  • Encouraging the nursing home to have open-door visiting policies, establish voluntary worker or transitional student programs, and provide education about and access to computers with internet connections.
  • Asking about policies that allow residents to help fellow residents – this helps residents feel useful and engage in meaningful activities.

2. Embrace New Technology

A new product, Liftware, attempts to solve the problem many residents face while eating: hand tremors. Residents with Parkinson’s, dementia, and those who’ve suffered a stroke or arthritis often have trouble eating, leading to skipped meals and loss of independence. Liftware is a high-tech spoon that uses sensors and motors to counteract hand tremors.

Another new product called Eatwell also aims to help people with dementia eat enough. The dining set uses rubber-based cups, slip-resistant materials, and hard angles to prevent spills. It also uses bright primary colors to encourage residents to eat more; according to a study on the psychology of color, residents who were served meals on blue plates ate nearly a third more food than residents eating from white plates.

Learning about and having access to the internet can significantly enhance residents’ lives. Many local libraries offer free computer education classes. Community senior centers may also offer courses on computers.

3. Get Moving

Physical activity is a common habit among the happiest and healthiest among us, young and old. Regular physical activity helps self-esteem, overall health, social interactions, and wellbeing.

Anything that gets your loved one outdoors is especially helpful. Just getting outside for a short daily walk can do the trick. Encourage your loved one to do some type of physical activity they enjoy – better yet, do it with them.

4. Personalize Rooms

Bedrooms are important to residents’ quality of life, and most prefer a single, private room. Most residents enjoy the freedom of being able to return to their own rooms. Help your loved one personalize their rooms, including their bathrooms, to make them feel more at home and give them an outlet to express themselves.

This could also spark conversations with residents or workers with similar tastes and interests.

Personalizations can include:

  • Putting up a simple wallpaper border around room’s perimeters.
  • Adding a portable or wall-mounted table as a flat workspace (for crafts, writing, puzzles, etc).
  • Adding lamps, and include touch pads to make turning them on and off easier.
  • Adding a wardrobe or armoire on wheels, or other flexible storage units
  • Smaller products like Kleenex box covers, illuminated light switches, and picture frames can make a big difference.
  • Decorating rooms according to the changing seasons or upcoming holidays.

To spruce up the communal areas, you can ask local nurseries to donate plants or ask if any religious groups would want to install a garden. You could also ask local schools to submit art designs – residents, staff, and visitors can vote on their favorites to display.

Our nursing home injury lawyers encourage all families to make the effort to improve their loved one’s living conditions in these facilities. If they have already suffered a serious injury from neglect or abuse, contact us as soon as possible. You may have a legal claim against the facility.

Filing a legal claim is the fastest and most effective way to protect your loved one and other residents in the nursing home. We help residents and families throughout the country.