Many good people working hard in nursing homes

Laudable for its advocacy of fitness, last week’s Outdoor View (Clarion, Aug. 19) begs comment. No one wishes to heedlessly burden family or society. No one likes the Emergency Room, and no one courts the Intensive Care Unit. But while physical fitness may reduce one’s chances of encountering the ER or the ICU, physical fitness is by no means a guarantee of endless independence or of an easy, painless, hassle-free exit. Heart disease can be clearly linked to obesity, while other maladies such as cancer and dementia seem to little respect physical fitness or the lack thereof.

More seriously, the column refers, somewhat ominously, to “what goes on in nursing homes,” claiming to have witnessed such goings-on first hand. I too have witnessed firsthand what goes on in nursing homes having worked for a number of years as a Hospice Chaplain and currently doing some volunteer work at Heritage Place here in Soldotna. What overwhelmingly “goes on” in nursing homes is a lot of good people, residents and caregivers alike, trying to make the best of inescapable, end-of-life conditions and, for the most part, doing a very good job of it.

Yes, bad things may and perhaps do happen in nursing homes but to generally disparage and depreciate nursing home care and residency is to do both a huge disservice, and that is especially true of our local nursing home, Heritage Place. Heritage Place — its caregivers and residents — exemplifies all that can be good about nursing home care and residency.

Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Visit Heritage Place, ask questions, talk to the residents, or, better yet, become a regular volunteer.

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