Leaders must prioritize inclusion as an integral component of how they communicate, interact, run meetings and assign assignments on an everyday basis. Doing this will allow them to become more inclusive while improving lives they serve.
Diversity can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness while increasing learning and cognitive function in memory care communities. You can achieve this goal by hosting cultural senior events and encouraging staff diversity within the facility.
1. Know Your Residents
Engaging with your residents is key to making them feel at home in your care, including understanding their lifestyle preferences and hobbies to provide personalized experiences. Furthermore, becoming acquainted with their daily habits may reveal changes in physical or psychosocial well-being that need monitoring.
Residents expect their on-site teams to be accessible, and receive timely responses when reaching out. Offering a range of communication channels can help build trust and increase engagement; make sure your residents know which methods they should utilize.
Residents want to feel valued for their unique interests and contributions to your community, so provide opportunities for them to share these through activities such as music and dancing classes, arts & crafts activities or by displaying photos of family members – this will make them feel appreciated and valued.
Recognizing your residents’ special occasions is another way of showing your appreciation, such as sending birthday greetings through their preferred means of communication. Also remembering and commemorating important milestones such as anniversaries or holidays should also be part of the equation.
Your residents want to feel empowered to make choices about how they live their lives, so providing an accessible environment – for both those with mobility issues as well as those without – will go a long way toward helping them realize their own personal goals and passions.
Give your residents a voice by conducting regular surveys about their satisfaction with your services and offering suggestions for improvement. Acknowledging their input shows them you value their contributions and want to ensure their living experience goes as smoothly as possible.
Keep a close eye on your residents’ personal dietary preferences so you can offer meals they will truly enjoy. Following their interests not only keeps them happier, but it can also prevent food allergies or sensitivities which could potentially cause them discomfort or pose health risks.
2. Know Your Staff
If your organization wants to foster inclusivity, it is key that its staff gets to know one another. This means understanding their backgrounds and perspectives that come from living in different cultures or encountering various worldviews daily. Furthermore, leaders must commit themselves to diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives; for that purpose consider providing them with an inclusive leadership training program with an emphasis on empathy.
Empathy is an invaluable trait that allows leaders to understand different experiences and perspectives, making them better teammates and leaders. Furthermore, creating safe spaces where employees can express themselves freely in the workplace – for instance gender neutral restrooms, prayer rooms or quiet workspaces may provide relief for introverted team members who find open floor plans overstimulating.
Senior leaders should set an example by leading by example in terms of diversity and inclusion within your company, showing the courage and curiosity necessary to try new things and embrace a more diverse culture. Once they do this, other members of their teams will likely follow their lead: according to Deloitte research, when all levels of leaders prioritizing D&I within teams they are 70% more likely to experience high feelings of fairness and respect among employees.
Your team members can also benefit from taking advantage of available resources in order to develop cultural competency. For instance, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders offers online cultural competency training for long-term care providers, helping them provide optimal care to diverse seniors.
Your employees can benefit from community-based learning approaches by participating in field trips to local businesses, volunteering in their communities and inviting speakers from different experiences and perspectives to speak at staff meetings. Such strategies will make staff members feel valued while their opinions are heard; ultimately creating more engaged team members that support your mission.
3. Know Your Community
As part of creating an inclusive workplace culture, inclusive environments require more than physical changes; rather, it means making sure people are included in every aspect of everyday work and life in an organization or community. Leaders should incorporate inclusion into how they communicate, interact and run meetings every day – while modeling behaviors that support inclusion as core values within their company – this ensures 7X greater likelihood that employees say inclusion is an integral component of workplace culture.
Fostering diversity within the community also means creating an inclusive atmosphere, so everyone feels welcome and accepted, including older adults. Memory care units benefit greatly from having varied backgrounds because this helps reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness that sometimes exist in these settings. Diverse backgrounds also enable learning and creativity which is integral to maintaining health in mind and body. Engaging seniors through cultural senior events like music performances, art exhibits, food tasting sessions or storytelling sessions helps strengthen sense of belonging within communities while increasing overall well-being.
Communities can foster an inclusive and caring environment by educating both their residents and wider community on how best to interact with those living with dementia, through workshops or training programs or dementia awareness campaigns – such as placing information pamphlets at senior lanes or other locations frequented by older people.
Education of the community about inclusivity can help ease some of the fear and anxiety people feel when encountering someone living with dementia, while at the same time serving to emphasize its significance as a form of support and help for these individuals to maintain their independence and sense of self-worth.
State and national datasets on aging and disability provide communities with invaluable tools for identifying opportunities to strengthen person-centric policies, practices and services. Furthermore, collecting and analyzing this data provides proxy measures of current and future unmet needs of older adults and persons with disabilities such as waiting lists for community services; long-term care needs analysis; state projections regarding housing, health, transportation etc.
4. Involve Your Residents
Provide an inclusive and nurturing environment requires resident engagement in everyday activities like playing outdoor sports or indoor games like online poker on any of the sites described at https://centiment.io, engaging them in shared occupations, and celebrating special events like birthdays to make residents feel included and valued. Spending time getting to know each resident personally and developing meaningful relationships.
Staff that better reflect the communities they serve can help ensure this. By being able to recognize, empathize, and understand diverse communities better, staff can better support longevity, health, and well-being for its elders. There are various trainings that teach cultural competency available that organizations can utilize; Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders for instance offers courses on cultural competence within senior living settings.
Making age and dementia-sensitive accommodations will also contribute to creating an inclusive and caring environment for all residents, such as wide corridors that accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, high contrast signage to identify rooms and landmarks, and easy-to-read name badges for staff, volunteers and seniors – just some examples of simple modifications which could have a major impact.
Create spaces that celebrate different cultures will encourage elders from various backgrounds to mingle and socialize more easily with one another, further strengthening social bonds among elders of all kinds. Furthermore, interaction among different backgrounds may improve cognitive function by stimulating learning and creativity as well as decreasing feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Many states are taking steps towards being Age-Friendly through initiatives, like AARP’s Age-Friendly Communities. States looking into adopting a MPA may learn from these efforts and use them to support advocacy for creating their own programs.
Though Dan was open about his sexual identity, many elderly adults do not disclose their orientation or gender when entering senior living communities. As such, LGBT elders are 20 percent less likely to access services for older adults and twice as likely to live alone than other older adults. To better meet the needs of such vulnerable individuals, senior living communities should educate staff members about LGBT elders’ specific requirements as well as provide resources that allow family members to support their loved one’s sexual preferences.