What Seniors Want

Ten things older adults want

Senior Couple at Computer, ipadIf you’re involved in independent living apartments, assisted living residences, rehabilitation services, or nursing homes, you’re familiar with the amenities these residences and services offer. But what do the people who use them really want?

Research on this topic has allowed me to pull this list together for you. Below are ten top things that people say they want as they go through life’s stages:

  1. “Don’t call me senior”. We all want to be recognized first and foremost as the human beings we are inside. As we get older, we’re still the emotional, life-filled adults who we were when we were twenty. But wiser! So, what do “seniors” want to be called? People.
  2. To “live in place.” Many people don’t think about the aging process. They move forward one-day-at-a-time, and prefer to live in familiar surroundings. Of course, there’s help if this should become difficult or impossible, ranging from home-healthcare to full nursing home care. Yet, as human beings, this is difficult to plan for.
  3. People want to:
    • Stay close to friends and family
    • Have the ability to socialize with others easily
    • Remain engaged in the community
    • Interact with people of all ages
  4. To feel at home. When asked, people said this means:
    • A well-designed home and floor plan that will be workable at any age and stage of physical needs
    • Spacious living quarters
    • Storage for their items
    • Windows and light
  5. They prefer not to ask for help. People like to remain independent and able to take care of themselves. Should there come a time in their lives when they need to ask for help, they want to know who to ask. Residences have many people working there, and it’s helpful to let residents know who to ask for what services or items.
  6. People can be nervous about the costs associated with getting extra help or moving to a new residence. They want to know:
    • How much does it cost?
    • Are there charges for changing needs?
    • Are there “hidden” costs?
    • What happens if the money runs out?
  7. Staying physically fit is important so that people feel strong, are able to secure their needs, and can move easily.
    • Walking trails
    • Proximity to parks
  8. Transportation is a must for doctors’ appointments and other necessities. And, it allows people to remain involved outside a residence, in activities within the community.
    • Transportation via car or mini bus provided by residence
    • Access to safe public transportation (depending on abilities and desire of residents)
  9. Whenever people move, or give up any amount of their independence, they need to know they can rely on the people who are there to help them, and on the soundness of the building they’re living in. They need to be safe from:
    • Crime/fraud
    • Abuse
    • Falls and accidents in and out of the home
    • Security

And they want to have control over their own environment

  1. Disaster preparedness—people need to know what to do in case of an emergency, like a tornado or fire.

It’s important to address the needs of the population we serve so they can continue to live full, safe and happy lives.
The information for this article is from the following websites:

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/09/05/2667952/what-do-seniors-want.html#storylink=cpy

http://www.ltlmagazine.com/article/what-55-consumers-don-t-call-them-seniors-want-their-living-environments

http://www.atriaseniorliving.com/senior-living-care.aspx?PageID=145

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45376299/ns/health-aging/t/aging-place-most-seniors-want-stay-put/

 

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Everyday Happiness

What makes you happy?

Many of us will answer: time with friends and family. Other things like a beautiful home, great food, travel, and a new car/phone/furniture may be added to this list. And what about intellectual stimulation, spiritual connections, and physical strengthening?  They’re important too, and in many ways essential to well-being.

What happens when someone we love needs help with daily living? Perhaps more assistance than we, or even a home health agency, can provide for them? We’re concerned not only with their health and safety, but with their happiness. Up until fairly recently, the options were rather limited, and nursing homes, while important for more intense physical help were not the best choice for someone whose needs were less restricted. Today’s assisted living residences are uniquely equipped to help those who need help but are still of an independent mind and heart. Many are new, attractively decorated, and homey. The food is better prepared with fresh ingredients and a wide variety.  Some residences hire chefs to prepare food—meals that are both nutritious and delicious.

Senior Couple DancingIf you’ve had the opportunity to visit an assisted living facility, or a full campus of senior care services, you already know how far we’ve come from yesterday’s nursing homes. Yet, when someone we love might benefit from the help that can be provided for them, we hesitate. Will my loved one be happy there? How will they feel about this change in their independence? Are they ready for this? Am I ready for this?
And what about our loved one—our parent or aunt, friend or relative? They like living on their own, they love their home. They’re in familiar surroundings and they and don’t want this change. It’s a serious decision and one that needs to be made carefully.

Studies have shown that senior care facilities can offer an opportunity for people to socialize on a daily basis, one that they may not have living alone. And, those seniors who socialize at least three hours a day are happy. Happier than those who don’t. In my work with assisted living facilities, I’ve heard personal stories of people who were unhappy, or having difficulty in some area of communication, and who blossomed from the daily socializing they experienced when they moved into an assisted living home. For more information, check out these reports:

http://www.alfa.org/News/2163/Gallup-Survey-Finds-Social-Seniors-Happier
http://www.atriaseniorliving.com/PressReleaseStory.aspx?PressReleaseID=11&PageID=57

And, as you’re reading this, remember to keep your social life active—and increase your happiness!