Are We Promoting Comfort or Isolation?


We settle for, with out considering a lot about it, that some housing shall be set aside and restricted to folks over the age of 55. Certainly, the whole senior dwelling trade is based on this deliberate coverage of age segregation. We additionally know that the variety of older People is giant and rising bigger yearly. Everybody, together with The Nationwide Funding Heart (NIC) for Seniors Housing & Care, has anticipated the trade to develop consistent with the ageing of the Boomers. And but, the info tells one other story.

The occupancy charge for seniors housing throughout america continued to say no within the second quarter of 2018, NIC reported, trending downward over the previous 10 quarters—solely two-quarters in need of its 12-quarter downturn through the Nice Recession. Occupancy charges for unbiased dwelling assisted dwelling and nursing care had been all down. Assisted dwelling continued its decline and was the bottom since NIC started to report the info in late 2005.

The golden way forward for Senior Housing isn’t what it was once, and persons are beginning to ask why.

The sphere of physics holds an essential lesson for us all. After we look intently sufficient we uncover that “the whole lot is related.” Writing about these connections, and the “Chaos Idea” that underpins them, Neil Gaiman notes that “a butterfly flaps its wings within the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently a storm ravages half of Europe.” These of us working within the area of ageing providers have to grasp that seemingly small choices can finally change the fact of ageing for big numbers of individuals.

I feel we have to take a look at the corrosive function that ageism is taking part in in our area. Ashton Applewhite has been digging into the numerous ways in which our tradition’s damaging views of ageing affect folks of all ages. In her most up-to-date e book, “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto In opposition to Ageism,” she notes that “age denial retains many individuals from making life-style decisions that repay in the long term.”

All decisions hyperlink to one thing greater—the whole lot is related—and we’re, arguably, witnessing declining senior dwelling census figures (within the context of rising demand) as a a lot delayed, very profound, and wholly unintended consequence of founding an trade primarily based on the segregation of older folks in line with their age and (dis)skills and creating uber conveniences in order that they by no means have to depart the compound, ahem, I imply group.

A butterfly flaps its wings…

Does this sound acquainted as advertising and gross sales technique? “At Blissful Days Senior Dwelling, now we have all of it underneath one roof. For $8K per 30 days residents have entry to the Bistro; the Library; a 24-hour Café; Full-Service Spa with Barber, Pool, Health club, Worship Heart, and Quiet Room; Personal Eating; Positive Eating; Wine Cellar; and Sundry Store.”

On the floor that sounds grand proper? A lifetime of comfort, however keep in mind the Butterfly Impact? Every part impacts the whole lot.

May this comfort advertising technique truly be perpetuating ageism by insulating and isolating older adults from the final inhabitants? May we truly be advertising isolation with out realizing it?

What if as an alternative of promoting isolation and confinement-based age and skill, we facilitated connection to folks of various ages, skills, and backgrounds—you understand, like a standard sort of life?

What if Senior Dwelling advertising methods appeared like this as an alternative? “At Blissful Days Senior Dwelling, we consider that life solely will get higher if you interact with others. The transportation middle at Blissful Days runs 12 hours per day to the native library, the spa, YWCA, YMCA, film theatre, Major avenue eating choices, the native faculty, performing arts facilities, medical facilities, your loved ones house (if inside a 30-mile radius). We’ve got journey companions obtainable if wanted.”

This pivot in advertising and repair supply shifts senior dwelling from one in all isolation to a extra human expertise, the place older adults stay engaged with society as an entire. I don’t find out about you, however I’m uninterested in listening to about intergenerational programming that will get enthusiastic about “younger” folks visiting the “compound.” Who wants a “program” after we can create environments that now not segregate older adults with ageist insolating and isolating advertising and gross sales methods?

What would the butterfly impact be if we truly used the vans and buses parked on the entrance of those communities? What if residents got Metro Playing cards, MARTA Passes, Lyft and Uber playing cards on move-in day, fairly than the keys to the compound and a wristband that locks the doorways down for those who go close to them.

We will take such improvements even additional by shifting away from the standard  “senior housing” paradigm and embracing MAGIC. (MAGIC stands for Multi-Capability, multi-Generational, Inclusive Communities.) These communities reject segregation by age and skill and rejoice variety as a core energy of wholesome communities. The MAGIC ethos embraces ageing as a supply of energy and worth.  The MAGIC method to structure, tradition, and expertise attracts on historic and highly effective understandings in regards to the virtues of all ages. The primary MAGIC Village is scheduled to return to life on the College of Southern Indiana campus in 2020.

There’s a new previous age ready to be born. The wholesome growth of a 21st Century would require us to problem our bias and stigmas, promote “skill” considering and inclusivity. Certainly, age segregation is more and more being revealed as an essential contributor to a society-wide “othering” of older folks.  We will do higher– and we’ll.


*Initially printed on Senior Dwelling Information

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