Spring up, down or sideways

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Benjamin Franklin didn't work in long-term care. Look it up. It's a historical fact. If he had, his hair-brained daylight saving scheme never would have seen the light of day.

It's been a ridiculous concept from the start, the sort of crazy idea you'd get after scrambling your brain holding a wet kite in an electrical storm. It was silly to even try it. Americans don't save. We know this.

But now what has been a fairly petty annoyance on and off since World War I appears to be turning serious — and maybe even deadly. So-called “scientists” from Finland allege that all this madcap changing of our clocks twice a year might be increasing the risk of stroke by 8%.

That makes Daylight Saving Time seem like kind of a bad idea, and if it's killing people, we should probably stop. Then again, Finland gets almost no sunlight in the winter, so it's possible those researchers are simply bitter and lashing out. 

I actually don't know the specific impact the time change has in a long-term care facility. If I had been blessed with an extra hour in my day today, I could have done some actual research. But still, it might be wise to try to mitigate the possible effects.

McKnight's asked the stroke study's lead researcher for some ideas, and he suggested changing the sleeping time gradually over several days. I would add that asking staff to walk and work in slow motion for the two hours before and after the change could also help ease the transition.

But the best plan of all is to just get rid of this annual charade. Even the Buddha was against it. In fact, the story is told (by me since I just made it up) that a meddling neighbor, peeking over the fence and seeing him sitting under the Bodhi Tree, shouted helpfully, “Don't forget to set your clock ahead an hour tonight!”

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment,” the Buddha replied.

In other words, stop messing around with time, people. Live in the now. Spring up, down or sideways. Anywhere but forward.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.


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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.