Friday, January 7, 2011

life before social networks

Wow! Probably life before social networking may just be something few people can recall. With all the recent flack about FB selling our information to people and privacy issues, it still remains very popular to this day.

I remember getting on the Internet in 1997, when my small town and all we had was *sigh* dial up, OH my! I remember drumming my fingers listening for that dial up sound to finally connect me to the Internet. I remember getting Net Zero and AOL discs in the mail to sign up and connect even to more networks and people. Well now we don't get those offers anymore, no one, or well hardly anyone, uses dial up now and why pay AOL for something everyone else offers for free (web sites) and now cable offers faster, lightening speed Internet services. Wow, that seems like eons ago now.

Many of us do not realize there is an entire generation of kids growing up who have never experienced what life was like without social networking sites. Whether this is a good or bad thing will be something for history to decide. Many today feel it may be a bad thing. Why? Well, some kids cannot spell, and maybe they will never be required to spell correctly, but by using text messaging all the time a their main forms of communication, they can write gibberish and never have to spell anything fully. After all, who wants to pay for extra words or extra letters when you don't have to? Can I buy a vowel please?

Another drawback to all of this social networking just may be an entire generation of kids who don't have very many social skills. Why, again? Well they meet on the Internet, they may use cams to see each other's faces while communicating, or not, but they still do not have those face to face interactions that people must use social skills for. When going to job interviews some may be clueless as to how to conduct themselves because they never had to use social skills. If social skills are not in their bag of 'how to' it is a pretty good guess they don't have a clue.

Before social networking, my kids actually went places to meet their friends. They went to malls, fast food joints, school functions, and even actually went to friend's houses. I know, shocking isn't it? Now all kids have to do is hop on a social network, update, in very few words, what went on with their day and check later on for responses from friends. Remember when kids actually called on a phone and had conversations, I mean really talked to friends, like one on one? Those were the 'good old days?' I have seen an answer to this question that was recently posed in the 'Requests' section and they said: 'life would go on,' or 'I'd be fine, life moves forward.' While that is certainly very true, would they really be fine with not being ale to use a social network? Let's face it, on FB you can keep in touch with loved ones, friends and even meet new soon to be, loved ones and not spend as much as we used to spend in a long distance call. So it has its economical side to it.

We all use electronic banking, we very seldom use snail mail, even advertisers seldom use snail mail when now they can use the Internet and even spam mail us all. My junk mail in my mailbox went down while my spam mail has shot way up. Snail mail has almost disappeared from our lives, so much so, the US Postal Service is nearly an obsolete entity in out lives now.

So many people have given up land phones for cell phone services,after all, you cannot take a wall phone places. There is an entire generation of kids who have probably never used a phone with a cord and I dare say many never knew phones with cords ever existed. Remember when we used answering machines instead of voice mail? Wow, what memories that brings back.

A community used to be defined as neighborhoods, houses and villages, now there are virtual communities, those communities that exist on line.

Types of virtual communities:

Internet message boards: these allow people to choose topics of interest and leave messages to discuss certain topics or ask questions of people and check back for answers to their questions. Anyone can become a member of this community even if they do not choose to share their thoughts. these are also known as forums. The downside of message boards is you have to wait for answers.

Online chat rooms: People wanted a way to convey their messages to each other in 'real time' so the online chat rooms were created. The upside of this is that you can instantly communicate with chat room members and you can choose chat rooms offering various topics of discussion, or those simply offering friendships and dating online.

Virtual worlds: These are worlds where you can choose an avatar and become anyone you want to be. these are popular in all sorts of online games. You can create your own fantasy worlds and even buy and sell items and make real money on some sites. Two avatars can even have intimate relationships online.

So, if the satellites went down tomorrow or even today, would you be devastated? Would you feel like life has come to a halt? These are interesting questions few of us ever think about in this new, electronic age of instant gratifications.

Growing Older and aging in America

The point of it all
I have written several blogs concerning nursing homes and the need for every single one in America to usher in Culture Change. The nursing homes of our era have not changed much for many, many, many (that's way too many people) years and years. Why? Well mainly because people, loved ones and residents have not stood up, been counted and said: "Wait a minute, would You want to live like this when old?" I am always wondering why and maybe because we just need someone to care for our elderly or maybe because we, too often, feel like because a person is old, they aren't contributing members of society anymore and so let's get them out of sight and out of mind. What a sad, sad way to view people who are simply old.

In this day and age of 'youth is everything' and bombarded daily with botox ads, ads for the 'fountain of youth in a bottle', the 'face lift in a jar' and the media telling us 'older is Bad, Bad, Bad' I realize it is little wonder we view old age as an 'affliction' rather than a fact of life.

A person said we don't all get old, but there are only two sides to that coin, either we die young or we will grow old. I don't think old should be as depressing as our society of 'good little Christian' people make it out to be. I know, Republicans want to take Social Security away, telling everyone else they are socialists, but taking Social Security doesn't make them exactly humane, nice, caring people either. So watch who you call names.

But way too often nursing homes and care for the elderly are viewed as 'that's how it is and always has been, nothing we can do' attitude, which is wrong. Things, institutions and ways of life can and do change, if enough people care enough to make changes, to demand changes and actually voice an opinion. In nursing homes, residents are paying customers, few people, except for a handful of volunteers, are there out of the goodness of their hearts, they get a paycheck, otherwise corporations would not be owning so many. So while I sound like a 'rage against the machine' person, maybe I am, maybe that machine we refer to as Corporate America has gotten too far out of hand, so much so we just let it run us over. I'm here to say it does not have to be like that. So while we will grow old, most of us anyway since there are only two sides to that coin, you either grow old or are long gone before old age hits, it does not mean changes for the better are out of reach. That attitude would never have gotten Civil Rights off the ground. So buck up, sidle up to the bar of life, have a drink and then get off the bar stool and act like America is a caring country once again.

I've done political rants about corporations have no business telling us what to buy, what is news and they have even less business telling me how to live when I'm old. When is America going to quit bending over for big companies? Ever?

Choosing a 'good' nursing home, for the most part is an oxymoron, good and nursing homes do not belong in the same sentence for most of them that exist today. Like 'jumbo shrimp' or 'new and improved' they are contradictions. Unless a nursing home (BTW nursing and home are an oxymoron too) is a total Culture Change facility, the there is no good nursing home. Got it?

What does Culture Change mean? Exactly what it says, changing the culture of a nursing home, changing attitudes of staff, owners and families who have loved ones in there. Complete and total changes, to places that warehouse people. Warehousing of people is wrong, it went out with Nazi Germany, or at least it should have and it is a dinosaur, something that belongs in the Stone Age, not in the 21st century. I will s-p-e-l-l out the changes that need to take place, changes about simple things you and I take for granted living our lives as we so choose, but somehow get lost in human warehouses.
I don't know about your home, but mine does not have a nurse's station parked smack dab in my hallway. Nursing stations belong in hospitals, nowhere else, end of story, plain and simple, no two ways about it. In a nursing home if you want it to be my home then get rid of the damned nursing station. Do I want to live in a hospital, do you? I'm pretty sure the answer to that question is an emphatic No.

Nurses are needed, but their office, desks etc. do not need to be in my hallway, it is just another obstacle for people with canes, people who move slower, people who have a slower reaction time and people in wheel chairs, to have to maneuver around. If nursing homes really cared for something other than staff convenience, those stations will be delegated to an actual office, on the side, not right in my way.

Nursing stations, for the most part say this: "With their high counters (am I buying something, is this a retail store?) tell me, as a resident, right off, nurses and staff are higher than me, superior to me. Not so, since as a resident I help pay your paycheck, don't be acting all superior to me. Those high counters, if I'm in a wheel chair, are difficult, if not impossible, to even look over to see a nurse anyway. Give them an office with an eye level desk like any other person is having in a business. Getting my drift yet? No wonder many residents now feel intimidated because of this little superior island in a nursing home.

Aside from the noise those nasty med carts cause, there is the fact they have big, hulking, medicine books on the cart, in the hall, unattended by a nurse who is in a room dispensing medications. So if I walk by a cart, I merely flip a few pages, have a gander at your medical record and all your illnesses. Gee, I don't see any need for HIPPA here anyway since nursing homes insist on violating that rule, so HIPPA is an utter waste of time here anyway. Wrong!!!!!!!!

Another big nuisance in a nursing home is those darned med carts, also parked on the side of the hallway and used to dispense medicine to all people the same time of day, again, merely for staff convenience, not the resident's good or convenience. When I get medicine prescribed by a doctor, there is a label that instructs me when to take that medication. I have never seen, not even in nursing homes the instructions: "Take this medicine at staff convenience or discretion'

It just isn't written there. Why is it that nursing home staff have never heard of this wonderful invention called a medicine cabinet? I have one in my bathroom and nursing homes could have one in every resident's bathroom too. People will get into the medicine, you say? Well there is another wonderful invention called a padlock, costs sometimes a buck or two in a store and medicine can be locked up in a medicine cabinet using a padlock. So now each resident could get their medications as instructed on the bottle instead of ;one size fits all' mentality of dispensing everyone their medications at once. Novel idea, isn't it?

Med carts, rumbling down the hallways at night, when I need my sleep, do nothing to help me obtain needed sleep. So a nursing home's answer to lack of sleep? Well let's give those old people some sleep medication and by God we'll make them sleep so when I get them up at five AM, we'll go into that next, they can be groggy and not ready to get out of bed. Not a very good way to help older people sleep, but then drugging them is also for staff convenience too.

Getting old people up at 5AM, 6AM or even earlier so the poor day shift staff have less to do. I say, Tough cookies, to day staff then! Why in this world would anyone who is old, retired and having no job to go to, be forced by an utterly insensitive staff, to get out of bed at 5AM? What in heck are they thinking? Is this older people being punished for getting old?

All of this getting them up all at once, is for staff convenience too. Now we are up, we all have to have breakfast, at the same time while staff is in that mess hall they loosely call a dining room because half the residents do not care to eat. Well you just ruined my appetite by yanking me out of my nice warm bed at an ungodly hour. I may not be a 'morning person' (You Do remember I Am a Person?) so now we have to call dietary to force Ensure down my throat because no one bothered to ask me what I like in the morning.

Every person should be able to get up when they feel like it, not when staff decides because kitchen staff want a clean kitchen by a certain time or because nurse aides do not want to frog with a continental breakfast or any of the stupid reasons why this tactic is done.

If I'm paying $5,000 a month, yes, I expect a continental breakfast and then some. But corporations might lose a nickel by offering it to me. When in reality, culture change would, in fact, have more people wanting to go to that facility because they can be human and can have a life. So there is no reason not to change, except for pure laziness.

One of the nursing homes I worked in was dead set on 'allowing' old people to go outside into the garden area but only when temperatures 'allowed' staff to 'let' them go outside.

Well I go outside anytime I damned well please to do so right now, in my life, run by me. Don't you? I went round and round with the Administrator and staff on this one particular issue countless times. I'd go to the desk and ask for the key to the door to the garden, only to be told that 'the temperature isn't right for residents to go out right then' and I complained that by the time people reach 60, 70, 80 and beyond, they pretty much know their bodies and can decide what is good for them without staff having to make those decisions.

The only decision staff needed to make in this case was to fetch a resident's coat, hat, gloves, etc for them to be comfortable in winter and to keep watch to be sure digits didn't freeze up. Staff can decide to have umbrellas for shade in summer and keep watch to serve drinks so residents do not dehydrate in hot weather. The decision to actually go outside belongs to the individual resident only, not to staff members at all.

Would staff like me telling them now their shift is done it is too hot or too cold for them to go outside to go home? How about i follow them home to dictate what is good for them in their homes? Same difference when making residents decisions for them.

As you can see, all of the stuff mentioned here, are the simple things that we, living in the world, just take for granted every single day. We go where we please, we eat what and when we please, we shop when and where we please, we even do our banking when we feel like it.

We go outside when we feel like it, and no one tells us we cannot do these things, unless, of course, we are in prison or the modern prisons we call nursing homes. Culture change needs to come to Every nursing home in America. Older people, paying huge sums of money deserve better treatment for their bucks spent in facilities.