Overcoming emotional barriers in senior living
For most of us, the word home is synonymous with comfort and safety. But what happens when staying at home isn't the safest option? What happens when home, at least in terms of elevated risk, becomes the enemy?
These are some of the complicated questions facing our prospective residents and their family members.
One thing that is interesting about our responsibly as senior living professionals is that when families come to us, it is not as if they are just coming for an experience, like going to a theater show or out to dinner. They come to us because they have an immediate need that usually is very logistically and emotionally foreign to them, and they need immediate answers. They're looking to us for expertise because their loved one, for whatever reason, is no longer safe at home.
So, in a way, you can say that home is our biggest competitor. Naturally, competing with something that holds such emotional and nostalgic importance brings its own set of challenges.
At first, the challenge of convincing a family that their loved one needs to leave home, even if it's very clearly the most logical decision, can seem insurmountable, especially because no two families are the same. But when we start to peel apart the layers and see why seniors are so hesitant to leave home, we begin to see some common themes, such as fears over a lack of independence, or erroneous assumptions about quality of life.
So, our first challenge is to educate, our second is to find a balance between care and compassion, and our third is to personalize that balance for each individual family. Unfortunately, no formula exists.
But orchestrating the harmony between clinical processes and individualized care plans, and making sure our communities have the tools to do the same, is my job. It's a job I'm proud to do. I'm ready. Are you?
Lisa Rogers accepted the position of senior vice president of risk management and compliance at Milestone Retirement in July 2017. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience. Milestone Retirement specializes in senior living management with emphases in independent living, assisted living and memory support. Since its formation in 2008, the company has grown to manage more than 80 communities across 17 states.