Older man’s needsElderly people struggle with reduced efficiency, chronic diseases, and diseases related to memory loss. There are private and local government homes for seniors in Poland. About 100,000 inhabitants live there. Demand for nursing homes for the elderly is growing, and the Ministry of Labor estimates that by 2035 there will be up to 4 million elderly people. Demand for care services tailored to the needs of seniors will be huge. Even 7% of seniors may use nursing homes in the future, which is as much as in Western Europe.
Changing the social attitude towards retirement homes
Two decades ago, placing the elderly in retirement homes was a taboo subject. The public was overwhelmingly negative about seniors’ homes. There was a conviction that there was abandonment of relatives and shifting the family’s responsibility onto the state. Currently, the social attitude of long-term care facilities for the elderly is changing. Seniors and their relatives have more and more confidence in nursing homes and have less resistance to using their services. The reason for the change in social attitudes towards homes for seniors is the increase in the wealth of the society and the desire to provide their loved ones with the best professional care.
In large cities, it is easier for residents to decide to take advantage of the care of homes for seniors. In the case of diseases resulting in disability, professional care is definitely a better solution than the care of inexperienced, although close people. Emigration is the second reason for the growing interest in long-term care for the elderly. People working abroad are willing to pay for the stay of their elderly parents or grandparents in a retirement home because they want to make sure that the senior has everything they need and the company of people their age. In smaller towns there is still pressure to take care of even a very sick person at home. There are fewer nursing homes for seniors in small centers. Many families do not consider this option even with the most severe diseases. In Poland, private homes for seniors are being built more and more often, in perfect locations, e.g. near health resorts or in tourist resorts.
Expectations of residents towards nursing homes
Elderly people have a need for contact with other people. They complain about loneliness, expect joint activities and talks. On the other hand, they want privacy. Contact with others and a sense of privacy are equally important. From the retirement home, residents expect a flexible daily rhythm, a sense of community and an intimate atmosphere. For privacy reasons, it is important that there are no more than 3 people in the room. Some pupils expect single rooms. However, it is an additional service associated with higher costs of stay. Seniors care about maintaining physical fitness and independence. Even watering flowers, taking a walk, baking cookies improves their physical condition and gives a sense of satisfaction. Among the residents of the centers for seniors there are also people who have lost their fitness due to the deteriorating health condition and expect, above all, to maintain their dignity, respect for privacy and improve the quality of life.
An intimate atmosphere and physical fitness
The most important needs of an elderly man living in a retirement home are an intimate atmosphere and physical fitness. People of senior age expect group classes to be held in groups of up to 20 people because then they do not feel anxious and make friendships easier and have a better relationship with staff. Behavior towards depression is less frequent in the intimate group. The atmosphere in the facility improves when the staff appreciate the elderly and use their handicrafts, such as embroidered napkins or mugs painted by them. Seniors then feel valued, cooperate better with each other and are happier.
Older people want to stay physically fit as long as possible. Therefore, as long as the mentee is able to do at least a few steps on his own, such a person should not be permanently placed in a wheelchair. Research has shown that seating a person in a wheelchair significantly worsens their mental and physical condition. Older people do not like care in a retirement home is limited to medical matters and keeping them safe. They want to feel at home. If a senior’s health condition allows for physical activity, then such a person should move independently for as long as possible and perform simple life activities, e.g. getting dressed, preparing a sandwich, watering flowers.
After years of a bad reputation for retirement homes, the time has come when people put their trust in this form of care for the oldest family members. The most important thing is not to leave the elderly alone in the nursing home, but keep in touch with the senior and visit as often as possible. Even the best care and new friends will not replace constant contact with children and grandchildren.