There are essentially “six kinds of care” that senior citizens minimally should receive whether at home, in hospital or in a nursing home. When in-depth, comprehensive care is well-provided, it contributes to a senior’s dignity, happiness and quality of life—physical and psychological. This is particularly important for those seniors in nursing homes where care given by the staff, and not sparkling chandeliers hanging in the entrance foyer or synthetically perfumed air, is what should be provided. The acronym C A L A S H, which helps us to remember the six kinds of care that protect and enhance a senior’s life, includes “C” for Clean, “A” for Active, “L” for Loved, “A” for Assisted, “S” for Safe, and “H” for Healthfulness. “If your loved one isn’t receiving all these kinds of care, you should speak to the administrator of the nursing home first and tell him or her about the CALASH of Cares that you expect. Then, if unresolved, you should consider a change,” says Mr. John E. Kasarda, Administrator, Little Brook Nursing Home in Califon, NJ. Below are definitions of each kind of care in the CALASH of Cares. Print list out at: www.littlebrooknursinghome.com/services-and-rates/calash-checklist/
- CLEAN: Being Cleansed and Well Groomed
One of the most telling signs of a senior’s well-being is if she looks, smells and feels clean. This type of care includes her personal hygiene—oral and body, her clothing and her room. For example, when she wakes, she should have help dressing, brushing her teeth, combing her hair and being freshened up. This should be done daily! The same standard applies to her bedroom and her entire residence. Accept no persisting smells, stains or messes. Seniors should not receive less as it is important for their well-being and health!
- ACTIVE: Being Up and Moving About
It’s understood that seniors may not be as mobile as they once were, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be up and helped to move about, if they are able. Seniors should be encouraged to try to join others in activities, meals, walks and social gatherings. Seniors shouldn’t be sitting around inactive in their bedrooms, hallways or other rooms. They should be participating in some sort of activity—physical or mental—like age-appropriate exercises, chess matches or an occasional outing to see a play, for example.
- LOVED: Feeling Appreciated & Part of a Family
A feeling of belongingness is a basic human need. Young or old we want to love and be loved. Nursing home seniors should be welcomed and be helped to feel comfortable with their caregivers and some of the other seniors—eventually establishing new, extended, family-like relationships. At times, seniors just need to have their hand held or a loving glance to comfort them. It’s amazing and uplifting to see seniors from all walks of life come together under one roof and be happy with each other’s company!
- ASSISTED: Help is Always Available as Needed
As we age, our dexterity, strength and other abilities become altered: some assistance becomes necessary. This is why it is very important that the staff assisting your loved one is sensitive, attentive and responsive to his needs around-the-clock. Long-term, dedicated staff members should get to know the unique and special needs of each senior for whom they are responsible and help them dress in their favorite colored slacks, plant their favorite vegetables, or prepare their food a certain way. Tailored, personalized attention and help is what every senior should receive in a timely, respectful manner.
- SAFE: Expect and Enjoy a Safe Environment
Seniors should live in a home that is well-maintained and free of hazards and threats. They should be able to safely move throughout their residence without tripping over steps or snagging their shoes or walkers on carpeting. Their home should be well lit, warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and they should have daily access to fresh air and sunlight, if wanted. Furthermore, seniors should be protected from intruders and other outside risks like auto exhaust fumes and noise from busy roads and highways.
- HEALTHFULNESS: Monitored Nutritionally, Medically & Physically
Last, but not least, is the healthfulness of your loved one. That is, is the care that your loved one is receiving conducive to good health? Is she receiving her correct medications on time, every day, for example? Is she often seen by a geriatric physician? What about her nutritional requirements? If she suffers from a heart condition, is she prepared a low salt, low-cholesterol diet? Does she have opportunities to engage in age appropriate exercise? A senior’s health care should be tailored to her needs and not generically administered. Review your loved one’s needs and discuss them with the staff in order to determine if they are fully attending to them. This, after all, is why your loved one is in a nursing home.
“Seniors have enjoyed long lives and some will need a nursing home to attend to their needs. These needs require unique, specialized assistance: assistance that only certified professionals—a nurse, an aide, a physical therapist, a dietary chef and a geriatric physician—can provide. It is very important that you see staff professionals working together to provide your loved one’s care,” says Mr. Kasarda. If you find that your loved one is not receiving their CALASH of Cares, then you should speak to the administrator of the nursing home first and tell him or her about the CALASH of Cares expected. Then, if unresolved, you should consider a change. Living in a nursing home is about living in peace, happiness, dignity, comfort, safety and good health. Your loved one deserves excellent care! Print your CALASH checklist at: www.littlebrooknursinghome.com/services-and-rates/calash-checklist/
Author: Dr. JP Hampilos, Editor; Source: Senior Care Focus, LBHI
Senior Care Focus, Issue No. 16.3