Home is the smell of cooked foods and baked goods originating from one of the elder's favorite recipes. It is the cat or dog resting on an elders bed as the elder awakens to a late breakfast that morning. It is the excitement on an elders face when one of the neighborhood staff spends the day together at the shopping mall before the holidays. It is the distinguishable design and decor of each elders room that means home to that elder. It is the elder, not staff, who welcomes others into their neighborhood. It is the notion that we are given permission to enter someone else's home and understand the respect and privacy that is associated with being given this privilege.
This concept is known as nursing home Culture Change. It is not only about creating home for the elders but creating community for elders, staff and families. We all know that individuals can feel lonely even with many people around. Creating community includes providing opportunities for close relationships to exist between elders, family members and staff as well as opportunities for shared decision-making about how residents and staff are going to live and work together. Knowing each other as individuals and recognizing that each person has something to contribute to the community. Our staff feels empowered and shares life with the elders. It is truly an extended family, not just a place to live or work.