SPace Identity Community Environment Support:
Our future Nursing Home
Ageing is an inevitable part of life. As we grow older, we become less mobile and weaker. Most of us will likely need help in our daily activities, and to maintain our overall functioning. We may become forgetful especially with our supplements or medications. The option to stay in a nursing home become inevitable when we can no longer take care of ourselves. Is staying in a nursing home a death sentence?
For some people, the concept of a nursing home is one that is associated with doom and gloom. Do people lose their sense of identity when they move into an institution, and their personal space is compromised? Perhaps we are afraid to be stuck with the routine and structure of a nursing home. It is easy to think of reasons to avoid staying in the nursing home. Despite this popular belief, I would like to advocate for a in shift in mindset, where the perception of aged care is evolving.
In St Theresa’s Home, we plan to add SPICES to the lives of people who form a community (e.g., staff and residents). For a start, we should call it a Villa rather than a Home.
In Singapore, we do not have the luxury of space. However, giving every senior a small personal space within their room can provide quality rest and promote recuperation. Smart architectural designs can transform a 2-bedroom unit with shared amenities and living space. This is particularly important for Singapore where we strive to maximise space where possible (Please see the below illustrations)
Maintaining our identity and living a dignified life are important aspects of ageing. Seniors will be encouraged to make choices and stay engaged, as well as provide feedback and contribute ideas to enhance the quality of care. Adjusting to a new environment is necessary in the initial period. We believe that seniors have the capacity to adapt and maintain their identity during their stay in the Villa. So, it is our mission to help each senior to adapt to these changes. For instance, if a senior is yearning for a particular cuisine or hawker food, they can be taught to use food delivery services apps such as Food Panda or Deliveroo to satisfy their gastronomic desires.
A longitudinal study by Harvard University found that seniors who have more social interactions were happier and they lived longer – https://youtu.be/8KkKuTCFvzI. According to Prof Robert Waldinger, “social connections are really good for us and that loneliness kills. People who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community are happier, they’re physically healthier and they live longer than people who are less well connected,” he said.
Living in a community allows us to build bonds and friendships. These friendships provide mental, social and emotional support. In St Theresa’s Villa, we believe in helping and supporting each other as a community. We strive to build relationships between residents and care staff, and to create a feeling of home away from home.
Nature has a magical touch and studies has shown that it significantly improves the quality of life. Studies from University of Minnesota reported that the general well-being of seniors improved when they were in touch with green and blue spaces. Incorporating more greenery and water features in the living environment will enhance the overall wellness in St Theresa’s Villa.
Seniors enjoy a stress free life with round the clock nursing and medical care, as well as assistance in daily chores. To avoid adopting a cookie-cutter approach, the care staff endeavours to know each senior and to be sensitive to their individual needs and preferences. Forgetting our medications or supplement will be a thing of the past. If seniors experience any painful joints, they can seek help from the physiotherapist. OT
We strive towards adding SPICES to our seniors lives so that many will age with dignity.