There is an insightful podcast by Pam McDonald that is titled “believing the pandemic gives senior living a do-over…” She describes the goals we should have as a caregiving community, and that we specifically need to keep a “style of life” for our residents. The old value proposition for assisted living communities, such as ours, was to make the transition to the community and receive care. That’s it. As we come into a new era, after this pandemic, it is our duty to change the value proposition and enhance the living experience for our residents.The big question is, “how do we do that?”. Colin Milner, the Founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, gives us a few tools to succeed in this endeavor. The first big tool is commitment. We need commitment to a goal and to the residents as we strive for safety and wellness, making our communication transparent, and reminding them that their lives matter.
Here at Bel Aire, we have continually strived and thrived in this effort. The activities and socialization that we offer, in visits, outings, family dinners, exercise, and games become key to a style of living where life becomes full of joy and happiness. As we include what we enjoy in our lives, assist the residents to identify their own likes and needs, and help them remain as independent as possible themselves, then we are creating a lifestyle worth living. Though they are aging, and their lives are changing, that doesn’t call for total rearranging.
We are all humans and need to be treated with compassion and kindness. It is vital that we continually seek to treat our residents as the adult people they are. Dehumanizing or belittling a resident by speaking to them as you would a child is problematic, yet at times this is seen in long-term care facilities. For some residents, these practices can create mental turmoil and reduce the joy in their lives, inspite having a robust social and activities program. There is such beauty in everyday life and it can be seen no matter our age. Though the pandemic has attempted to take over our lives and how we choose to live, we can now embrace the lessons learned from these times and create a better environment for our residents. We can establish a trust that we are prepared for any pandemic that might come our way. This, and many other things, will help create a community where we are helping to fully live the rest of your life, rather than wait it out in worry.
We need to be creating a different perception of what aging and senior living is all about. We do this by following through with our commitment. We want our community to be a community, not the hospital it could surely turn into without the enhancement of daily activities. Bel Aire makes life truly matter. We refreshingly impact lives and treat our humans to happiness.