The primary role of a nursing home is to keep its residents safe. Yet some nursing homes decide the easiest way to do that is to limit what residents can get up to. They reason that someone who spends their days sitting in front of the TV or lying in bed is easier to keep an eye on and less likely to fall and get injured.
Ensuring the health and wellbeing of residents requires so much more, and a lack of activity can be bad for their health.
People of all ages require mental stimulation and social interaction
They also need to use their bodies to avoid muscle deterioration. Federal regulations require “an ongoing program of activities designed to meet… the interests and the physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident.”
Having activities available is one thing. The staff should also encourage and help all residents to participate.
New residents, in particular, may feel shy or embarrassed or want to lock themselves away in their room as they struggle to come to terms with their lack of independence. Staff cannot force people to participate, but they need to do all they can to ensure they do.
Do not let it go if you realize your parent is not getting the activity, stimulation, or attention they need. You are paying for a home to take good care of them, and if they are not, you may have grounds to file for nursing home neglect. Understanding your legal options can help your parents get the treatment they deserve in their final years.