The American Legion is acting to correct a dirty little secret most people know about, but do nothing to resolve.
Too often people are placed in nursing homes, assisted living centers and other group care homes and they become someone else’s responsibility.
The reasons for moving a family member into one of these homes are many and they are often valid. As we get older and our healthcare needs become more challenging it is often more than children, grandchildren or friends and neighbors can do to provide the kind of care our seniors need. Nursing homes provide that service and, for the most part, do a good job of providing activities that match their residents’ abilities and interests.
But that doesn’t absolve friends and family members of the responsibility to visit and stay atuned to our seniors’ lives.
The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars units in Garner have decided to take on this problem in a way that makes sense. Focusing, as they should, on veterans, these groups have committed to making regular visits to nursing homes and other care facilities in the area to make sure veterans are not left to deal with their loneliness alone. It’s a function many churches have also taken upon themselves.
The lesson here for the rest of us is fairly simple. If you have a family member in a group care facility, it remains your job to keep in touch with them, to let them know they are loved and cared for.
For those without a family member in assisted living, there exists a great opportunity to volunteer your time in facilities helping keep residents company and enjoying the chance to make a new friend.
We need to learn the lesson the veteran’s groups are trying to teach us.