Improving Elder Care By Looking At Maternity Care

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The role of dads in the delivery room has dramatically changed in the last few decades. When I was born in the 1960s I think that it was standard practice to be drinking at the bar across the street with your buddies instead of holding your wife’s hand in the delivery room!

Now it’s common practice now to take up residence in the maternity ward with mom for the entire duration of her stay. In fact nearly every room has a chair or sofa that converts into a bed for dad.

In elder care its common practice to “drop off” our parents when they move to a senior living residence or nursing home. What if we started applying the same logic that has progressed in the maternity wing and started spending the first few nights with our elders to make the transition easier? Chairs or sofas could be bought by communities and made as an option to encourage friends and families to consider staying the first few nights. Maybe it could be a slumber party with the grandchildren spreading out sleeping bags on the floor so that when grandma wakes she sees a bunch of familiar faces instead of an intimidating door that leads to an unfamiliar setting.

I intentionally separated myself from my family in my move. However, if it wasn’t an immersion project I would have loved to see my kids in my room in the morning and I would have proudly enjoyed taking them down to breakfast and introducing them to my new neighbors!

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    We can move nursing homes institutional model of care into homes where life is worth living if we all work together.

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