Our suspicions were correct.
We had seen, in the last several years of our visiting residents in nursing homes, that the people seemed to be less responsive, less alert and sleeping much more than in the eighties when we first started the visits. Off the record admissions from medical workers confirmed the reason for this was the residents were more heavily drugged. A key reason behind this was the lack of staff to take care of the residents. That's right; it was easier to have them sleep than to try and keep them occupied.
However, a second reason was the lowering of quality of staff hires. For instance, in order to get nurses to work at nursing home pay levels, the institution was accepting people whose heart wasn't devoted to quality care. The residents were merely burdensome "bed numbers" to many of this new generation of staffers and, when there was a conflict over the staff's comfort vs. the resident's best care, the residents lost the contest.
This story from Health Sentinel will open some eyes as to the tragic mismanagement of our society's elderly and infirm.