Douglas V. Stoehr, Attorney at Law
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Wow, what a great idea to help our state's nursing home residents during the holiday season!  A Doylestown-based nonprofit organization called Wrapping Presence recently spent the day helping area nursing home residents pick out gifts from new and donated items to wrap for Christmas and Hanukkah presents.  This is a really special service, especially for those residents who cannot physically or mentally get to a store, pick out presents for their family and friends, and stand in line.  The staff at the nursing home spent several weeks ahead of time figuring out what their residents may be interested in giving as gifts, and tried to coordinate the donations to meet their wishes.  The donations of gifts and money towards gifts had been a year-long fundraising process, culminating with this event where the seniors were able to pick out their gifts.  The event was arranged with the help of over 650 volunteers who work with 19 nursing homes in the Doylestown area. 


This is a great service for our state's nursing home residents, especially considering that many of them suffer from seasonal or ongoing depression.  Every year, thousands of these elderly Americans make their way into nursing homes or other residential care facilities.  Although they may have moved there for a variety of reasons, most of these people experience some kind of psychological distress during their stay in one of these facilities.  Some of the most common shared types of psychological distress experienced by these residents are depression and loneliness. 


According to researchers, when elderly patrons are first admitted to nursing homes, many undergo a period of depression within the first 10 days. This is more severe in people who are coming from a home environment as opposed to those that are coming from a hospital environment.  Experts think that this period of depression is due to part to a loss of autonomy, loss of personal possessions, and a lack of familiar environment.


The adjustment process from home to a nursing home can take anyway from three to six months, and some residents never fully adjustment or get over symptoms of depression. Exciting and life-affirming activities, such as Wrapping Presence, helps seniors gain back some of their independence and joy.  


Depressed residents are often disengaged or disinterested in activities most of the day and do not seem to want to participate in either formal or informal activities put on by the nursing home community.  It should be noted that, unfortunately, your loved one's depressive symptoms could also be a result of abuse or neglect at the hands of the nursing home staff.  Although not all depressive symptoms are a direct result of abuse, if you suspect that an elderly loved one has been abused while in the care of another, it could be time to take legal action.  
 
If you would like more information about this page or Attorney Stoehr's areas of practice, contact our Altoona, Pennsylvania, law firm by calling 814-946-4100.

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