Loneliness is common in institutional settings for the elderly as well as the disabled. For Seniors, increased mortality, missing their relatives and late spouses, and boredom add to their emotional state. Today’s nursing homes are much improved from years past, with larger rooms, visits from pets, even gardens. Still, for many elderly people, the move to a nursing home represents the end of the road and a loss of independence. It’s a place you go to die.
Naturally, such thoughts can lead to depression, ranging from mild to chronic, which affects approximately 40% of nursing home residents, according to the American Geriatrics Society. This is three times the estimated rate in elderly people living in the community. Despite its prevalence, few elders in nursing homes will openly admit that they are depressed. Most nursing home residents spend up to 80% of their time alone in the rooms. They feel isolated, forgotten, “warehoused.” Some feel, many rightly so, that their adult children moved them into a nursing home so that they could move into Mom’s house with her grandchildren, or sell it, and many seldom if ever visit her.
As Marlo Sollitto writes, “Depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated — or treated as a “normal” part of aging. Because the signs of depression can mirror the signs of dementia, especially problems with focusing and concentrating, diagnosing depression in an older adult can be difficult.” Aging from 75 years and onwards is characterized by critical changes and turning points, such as the death of a partner or a child, increasing health problems, and the increasing need for care, and as our population ages, nursing homes are filling up fast.
A WELCOME REPRIEVE
IPS Safety Inc and the IPS Wellness Foundation have teamed up to provide exhilarating rides on our Trike Transporters. Seniors describe their rides as, “A break in the monotony, a feeling of being taken notice of, meeting new friends, the wind in my hair, being outdoors in the sunshine, a new experience, being spoilt, a special treat, feeling important, reliving my youth, a memorable experience, a little adventure, a real bike ride, a fun time.”
Nursing homes can purchase Trikes or we can help businesses to donate Trikes to the nursing homes. Those making donations receive a heap of publicity and excellent public relations from joyful Presentation Ceremonies and they benefit from being permanently advertised on the backs and sides of the Trikes they generously donate.