“The only thing that should change when someone moves to a nursing home is their address”

“The only thing that should change when someone moves to a nursing home is their address”

This was a quote that someone shared with me at the Pioneer Network Annual Conference last week. Although it may seem like a lofty and unacheivable goal – after attending this event and meeting so many caring, creative and committed people – I am confident that we will see dramatic sweeping changes in senior living in the near future!

I was a speaker and it was my first time attending one of their conferences. I am kicking myself for not attending sooner!  The Pioneer Network was founded with a focus on radical change in the culture of aging often referred to as the “Culture Change” movement in Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care Settings.  Click here for a definition of Culture Change.

I guess I thought that concepts of Culture Change relied primary on changes to the physical structure of a community or nursing center.  After attending the conference I realize how wrong my interpretation was!  Through conversations with attendees and going to several seminars it’s clear that this movement is centered on the people living in these homes.  As Holly Whiteside Author of “The Caregiver’s Compass” states, “The architectural or administrative changes only support and facilitate people shifting their focus to human connection.”

It gave me hope that there are so many caring people motivated to think creatively and try new ideas to improve these environments.  I also liked the fact that there was so much healthy debate and challenging of ideas and thoughts.  I liked how everyone seemed to challenge each other from the viewpoint of “is that going to be what the resident wants?”

There were many topics and resources that I discovered at the conference, I hope to explore many of these in future postings on the blog and in articles in Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook.  :

If you are working with seniors and their families you need to try to attend a Pioneer Network event.  Trust me, there is nothing you will read that will convey the benefits of attending this event with your eyes wide open and a willingness to meet and talk to others. The programming and organization are great – but it’s the people that you will meet that will make you feel confident that we will have better care for our elders.

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