Families seeking care services for an aging loved one sometimes feel challenged evaluating different residential settings. They may wonder why outstanding long term care and senior therapy and rehabilitation centers usually emphasize social activities, for instance. This brief article explores this issue. Why does maintaining a cheerful environment matter so much in the provision of high quality long term senior care?
Combating Three Institutional “Plagues”
A recent news article described three “plagues” afflicting large numbers of long term care patients. Some experts believe patients diagnosed with chronic disease conditions contributing to senior dementias sometimes succumb to these contagions: helplessness, hopelessness, and boredom. By maintaining cheerful, constructive care settings, staff members in long term care facilities greatly benefit the residents.
For example, the provision of social activities provides an opportunity for isolated seniors to engage with other people more frequently. Participating in a variety of simple, fun, daily events holds immense value for these patients. They gain an enhanced sense of empowerment and inclusion within the residential care facility. Social activities also provide residents with constructive opportunities to help them retain their faculties as long as possible. These activities essentially improve their daily quality of life.
The Value of a Smile
For example, for decades the public has judged physicians partly on “bedside manner”. Medical professionals who project a caring, sincerely interested demeanor usually develop stronger rapport with their patients than those who appear gruff, distant, and unconcerned. Their expression of concern for the ailing ultimately contributes to their effectiveness. A physician who develops the ability to engage patients in the recovery process tends to obtain more complete medical histories and better patient cooperation with treatment directives.
Similarly, in long term care settings, making an extra effort to obtain patient participation in daily activities often yields important benefits. Care facilities in which staff members infuse enthusiasm and optimism into their work provide happier, more interesting and more hospitable environments for residents. This intangible element contributes enormously to a patient’s ability to ward off (or at least manage) the three emotional “plagues” afflicting many seniors in institutional settings. In this sense, maintaining a cheerful facility really does supply a valuable component of high quality patient care!