We all age, whether we like to admit it or not. Over time, most of us will need some help and assistance, and the way care is delivered is equally important as the care itself.
Older Adults are independent, accomplished people who deserve respect and deference, especially when offered assistance when certain tasks become more difficult due to natural aspects of aging. While it can seem “easier” to just take over a task for someone, or have them conform to a caregiver’s schedule, this goes against the grain of what is called person-centered care. Here at Kendal-Crosslands Communities, we believe that person-centered care is one of the cornerstones that makes our community special. But what does that phrase really mean?
Understanding Person-Centered Care
Person-centered care can be defined as treating each person as an individual as opposed to a group. It’s a way of thinking and doing things that sees people needing assistance, whether it’s for health reasons, social support, or assistance in daily activities, as equal partners in the planning, developing and monitoring of the care to make sure it meets their needs. That means decisions about an individual’s preferences, assistance or health care are seen as a partnership with the person receiving care, rather than something that is done to them. It offers choices, and customized experiences to meet individual needs and preferences.
That may sound odd if you haven’t heard about person-centered care before. You might say- isn’t all health care and assistance to seniors person-centered? Doesn’t it require them to be part of the decision? You would be amazed by how often you will hear people talking about older adults and talk about what decisions they will make for the person or what should be done, without even asking the person’s preference or point of view. That is not person-centered care.
Why it Matters
Many families have a story about an elderly relative that eventually needed care that went beyond the capability of the family. As I hear stories from folks about having to “take the car keys from Mom” or choosing a personal care home for a relative, so many of the narratives talk about the older adult being forced into a decision or ending up with limited choices because a decision about long-term care was not made sooner. These narratives rarely talk about coming together as a family to honor the wishes and feelings of the person, and what they need or want.
In contrast, person-centered care takes a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs as the starting point to finding a respectful way to offer help and assistance that doesn’t take over or take away the sense of autonomy and independence we all want. Person-centered care is a touchstone in alignment with our Quaker values, and we often feel you need to see it in action to understand what a difference it makes in the lives of our residents. It is something you feel immediately when you talk to any of our residents, whether they are in independent living or are receiving personal care or skilled nursing services. Every person is valued, included and treated with respect and dignity. In fact, we have received an industry accreditation by CARF as a person-centered long-term care community.
Kendal-Crosslands communities were started in order to better serve the needs of older adults, and to create a community of mutual support throughout the aging process. As Tom Paxson, a resident from Kendal at Longwood said:
“Living in community is valued as none of us is self-sufficient and each person can contribute to the well-being of others in some way or other. Because we live more fully in community, we owe others (and ourselves) our commitment to integrity, truth, kindness, respect, and mutual concern for one another. Valuing our own health and vitality leads to valuing healthy and flourishing communities and to valuing the health of the physical environment in which we live.”
The belief in the value and the ability of everyone, even those experiencing ill health, to contribute to Community is part of what sets Kendal-Crosslands communities apart from other continuing care retirement settings. And this is why person-centered care is so important to us, because it ensures that every individual is valued and considered at every step of life’s path.
Call us at 610-388-1444 if you have any questions and our health center will provide you with more information about our healthcare and wellness programs!