Saturday, August 29, 2020

Senior Care Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Fair and Equal Treatment

Most of us avoid moving our family members into assisted living or a skilled nursing facility as long as possible, especially now during the Covid-19 pandemic, because it can be so difficult to visit them. However, sometimes assisted living is inevitable, especially if the family member has a serious illness or advanced dementia.  Choosing the ideal facility can be challenging.  You want to make sure they will have the best possible medical care, physical therapy, necessary treatments, and mentally stimulating activities.  You do not want them to receive poor medical care, or be bored and unhappy.
Sometimes, the most difficult aspect of senior care is assessing whether the community you have chosen is inclusive and diverse enough for them to be comfortable and feel accepted by both the other residents and the staff, especially if they are members of a minority, or if there is anything unique about them or their problem.  Does the assisted living facility you are considering provide fair and equal treatment for everyone?  Do they celebrate a variety of religious, political and social experiences?  Does everyone feel accepted and welcome?
If you are concerned about these issues in choosing a facility for a loved one, it could be helpful to read a book such as "Understanding Diversity: An Introduction to Class, Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation, and Disability." (Ad)  Although it is not designed specifically to deal with senior living situations, it does cover many of the topics you will want to consider in a facility.  If you already have a relative in a facility and you believe that it is doing a poor job of accepting diversity in its residents, you might encourage the administrators and employees of the facility to also read this book.  It could make the facility a much better place for everyone involved, both residents and employees.  

Since these issues can be difficult to assess, I really appreciated it when author Kelsey Simpson offered to write a guest post on these topics  The information in the post she wrote below can help you choose the right facility for your loved one.
The Importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Senior Care
by Kelsey Simpson

When most people think about diversity, equity, and inclusion, their minds will likely gravitate towards colleges, offices, and elections ... places in which these terms are used often. However, these terms are important to consider in other situations, as well, since they can play a major part in many people’s lives. These terms seek to ensure fair treatment and equal opportunity for all people, no matter the circumstance.

A place where people often do not think about diversity, equity, and inclusion playing a crucial role is senior care; however, all senior care facilities and in-home care services for seniors should strive to put these values into practice. If you are looking into a senior care service for a loved one, make sure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are emphasized.

What Should I Look for in Senior Care For My Loved One?

In addition to looking for a senior care service which will meet your loved one’s unique medical and care needs, make sure you choose a senior care service which supports their basic human needs, including diversity, equity, and inclusion.  You want to make sure their new home will be a place where they feel welcome, where they will meet interesting people with diverse interests, and where people are accepted regardless of their race, religion, gender, national origin, background, or the constraints of their illness.

How Can a Senior Care Service Practice Diversity?

There are two major ways in which a senior care service can practice diversity: in hiring people of varied identities, and having residents with varied identities (race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, disability, etc.). Diversity is important in all types of senior care services, as it will allow residents to both meet people similar to them, as well as people who are completely different. Spending time with people who are both similar and different will help seniors feel at ease socializing with people who make them feel comfortable, and also give them the opportunity to reach out to those who have different perspectives and life experiences. These opportunities will enrich the lives of aging adults.

Likewise, it is important to make sure that senior services are not discriminating against their residents in any way. You do not want your loved one to be treated poorly because of their background or medical condition.

What Does Equity Within a Senior Care Service Look Like?

Equity, in terms of senior care, simply means that all seniors are treated equally and fairly no matter their socio-economic status, race, religion, gender and capabilities. Seniors utilizing a senior care service should all have an equal opportunity to access needed services, medical care, information, and resources.

If a senior care service does not treat all clients the same, it may be worth your time to either look elsewhere, or to find out the reason for the different services. Is it because of differences in their medical diagnosis, or differences in their Medicare Supplement plan?  If not, you might want to gently educate the staff on how they can treat your loved one more fairly.  Perhaps they are unaware of how to meet the social, religious, emotional and physical needs of all their residents.  Offer them some simple solutions they can easily implement.

How Can a Senior Care Service Practice Inclusion?

Diversity and equity, combined with inclusion, means that all people are invited to participate and feel welcome and comfortable when utilizing senior care services. Senior care facilities should value all residents' opinions and well-being. Similarly, assisted living communities should strive to go above and beyond to offer services which celebrate their client’s differences; whether those are racial differences, physical capability differences, or any other differences common in the senior community.  The facility should also encourage current residents to be welcoming and accepting of new residents.

A care community which is inclusive will nearly always be an outstanding choice for your loved one.

Find Quality Senior Care for Your Loved One

As you look for senior care for your loved one, be sure to find one which has their best interests in mind. Choose a facility which will take care of their medical, emotional, and physical needs, as well as consider their basic need for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Use this post as a guide as you make your decision.

About the Author

Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about topics intended to improve the lives of other people. She lives in South Jersey, is the proud companion to two German Shepherds, and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.

As mentioned above, if the issue of acceptance, diversity and equal treatment is important to you, you may also want to read the book "Understanding Diversity: An Introduction to Class, Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation, and Disability."   (Ad) While it is not focused specifically on life in skilled nursing facilities or assisted living, it will help you understand the issues better.  After you read it, it could also be the perfect gift for the administrators of the care facility where your family member lives.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, financial planning, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

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