A friend of mine works as a nurse at one of these places and she told me that the nurses are so busy doing the basics (feeding, bathing, giving medication) that they do not have time to sit and have a chat with the patients. Many of the elderly have no regular visitors so they sit by themselves and pass their time by watching TV etc.
If you can spare some time, volunteer at a nursing home and brighten up someone else's day. Each home will have its own rules and regulations. So find out what you have to do to become a volunteer.