Benefits of Family & Community Involvement in Senior Living
“The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” - Mario Puzo
It’s an inherent human behavior to need to be around other people, no matter your age. We’ve grown up to know there’s strength in numbers. I think this principle applies to the family bond as well. Family is home – family is forever. People, often, need and want to be around their family.
Unfortunately, when residents move into a senior living community, some start to lose the connection to their family which can have a negative effect on their mental and physical wellbeing. Of course, the individual will be provided extra assistance and medical help for day-to-day activities they can’t normally do on their own anymore, but for some, it’s hard to accept this phase in life and often there’s a stigma out there that family involvement isn't necessary. That couldn't be further from the truth.
There are different ways to get the residents’ family involved, varying from social, day-to-day decision-making and senior living planning. Each one is equally important to the health and wellbeing of your residents. Family support and interaction have a major influence on a person’s physical, mental and emotional health. This greatly improves their quality and general outlook on life, and it starts with the family members.
How is your community integrating family activities into its schedule? The best way is for the staff to promote family and community engagement with activities such as coordinated special events and engagement days. Of course, the staff is there to assist in some of the daily activities like dining, bathing, etc. depending on the approved care plan; however, it doesn’t mean family members have to be absent. There are ample opportunities for family members to attend engagement days and events or simply take a walk with the resident, dine, play games and assist in any nighttime preparations. Any and every opportunity is meaningful!
It’s understandable that families get wrapped up in their own lives and don’t always have the time or want to make the commitment. Life gets busy, time passes us by, and sometimes, it runs out. Encourage your residents’ family members to add reminders in their calendar or on their phone to call and visit as much as possible. Ensure the staff stays connected with residents’ family members to constantly communicate their loved one is getting all the services and care they need. My grandparents currently live in an assisted living community, and they light up every time I bring my kids to visit – it’s the highlight of their week. Knowing the impact my visit has had on their emotional and mental wellbeing is enough to keeping me going back as much as I can.
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