Sunday, January 5, 2014

Elder visit

On December 31 2013 we visited an elder home. Before we arrived I was anticipating a enclosed building similar to what we have in the United States. When we finally arrived I was shocked to see this was not the case. Everything was so open, it looked like a little village. The sleeping areas were separate from the eating areas, and all of the buildings were open. We did get a chance to visit with the elders. They all seemed so happy and appreciative. We learned that many of the elders living in this facility may have been previously homeless or very poor.

As I walked around I thought about how different everything was from the United States. The openness and fresh air seemed to make everyone a little happier. I know in the states it would be impossible to have open facilities, but it wasn't just the openness that was different it was the freedom. The elders had the freedom to eat where they wanted, nap when they wanted, and even sit where they wanted. This freedom is not the same in the United States, there are schedules that are decided by the staff so unfortunately the residents don't get much say. 
It would be nice to one day introduce some of these ideas into nursing homes in the United States. I know we can't have the total openness because of weather and safety, but giving the residents more freedom would probably make the residents feel more at home.

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