No one model of assisted living service delivery is "best" or "perfect." Sometimes combinations of models are necessary to meet specific needs, which places a premium on flexible thinking. Whatever the service or approach, the program allows the resident to "age in place" amidst familiar surroundings.
Admittedly, from a regulatory standpoint in some cities and states, there might be no choice but to transfer a resident to a higher level of care when his needs can no longer be appropriately accommodated in a particular setting. If so, the transfer process needs to involve a clearly defined resident assessment program and careful documentation, and the resident and his family need to be included in this process so that all have a clearer understanding of the situation.
"Changing Cloaks" As residents of seniors housing communities age in place, it is incumbent upon us to go "beyond the basics" to help brighten those otherwise tarnished golden years. We need to design models that offer creative adaptations of services and environments to enhance residents' function and compensate for their increasing frailty and disability. It is helpful to view this from the resident's perspective, as this journal entry written recently by a male resident in our area enables us to do:
Mimi and I have about completed a change of cloaks. For many years we have lived quite well and happily under cloaks of independence. Within minimum overview from governmental bodies and some timely observations from relatives and friends, we have survived with reasonable independence. Our home was our castle and we could come and go as we wished.
As our years on earth crept up to the high eighties, we noted a corresponding decline in our energy, our activity, our vigor, our ambition, our awareness, and we could feel the cloaks of independence slipping off. We have acquired new cloaks of dependence which we are slowly getting used to. They signify the adoption of a different lifestyle. We are gradually beginning to appreciate these new cloaks. We are truly grateful for the protection they provide. NH
Bonnie Solomon is vice-president of Retirement Living Services, Delmar Gardens Enterprises, St. Louis, Missouri. For further information, call (314) 434-2520, fax (314) 434-4223 or e-mail gvillas@ swbell.net.