Global sand shortage threatens long-term care

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Did you know we're experiencing a global sand shortage right now? Neither did I, but it's apparently dreadfully true.

Please don't panic, however. This only affects long-term care if your existing properties or future projects require glass or concrete, or if you use computers or one of those new, hand-held phone things. But though there's no need to overreact, it's still probably best to prepare.

Start with the little things. From my experience, breakfast scones are typically filled with sand, but could be easily removed from your dining room and coffee cart menus as supplies become scarce. You might also consider proactively resurfacing your parking lot with a sand-free alternative — the covers of old MDS manuals, for instance.

Bigger picture, those of you planning new nursing home construction ventures should explore the latest in Saran wrap windows and no-foundation construction techniques — again, those old MDS manuals could come in mighty handy when concrete blocks are obsolete.

Replacing computers will be daunting, but with a modest investment in staff retraining, most financials can be easily calculated on the abacus. You might even find that all those colorful beads could make your managed care contract renegotiations extra-riveting and persuasive.

Finally, looking to the macro level, without enough hour-glass sand we won't truly know when time has finally run out on either the planet or the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Chia seeds are probably a cost-prohibitive option, but maybe we can just work something out with the “Days of Our Lives” people and their nifty show intro.

Admittedly, I did not see any of this coming, but it fits nicely into my theory that none of the things that consciously terrify us will be what actually causes our demise. Instead, while we're wasting our energies worrying about guns, climate change, nuclear weapons and cyber-terror, we'll be destroyed by something seemingly innocent that's not on our radar at all — like vitamin C. Or kale. Or squirrels. Or sand.

It's a frightening future that awaits, and the prospect of living in a world without this previously plentiful substance brings to mind those famous lines from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem “A Psalm of Life.”

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;

Longfellow's prophecy now rings suddenly prescient and clear, warning us that in the future, that the only sandy footprints we'll be leaving will be purely metaphorical.

It's an upsetting and melancholy thought, one I would normally subdue by quaffing an adult beverage of some sort. Unfortunately, according to a recent study reported by McKnight's, both drinking and not drinking [EDITOR'S NOTE: True, but drinking levels at their extremes] could increase the risks of dementia.

So maybe I'll just do a shot of sand instead — and perhaps a scone.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold and Silver Medal winner in the 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.

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