Creating Relationship-Rich Environments

It is hard not to look back on memories of time spent with your Grandmother or Grandfather, a favorite Aunt or Uncle and not have a specific memory that leaps to your mind. The details are so vivid, you can recall the exact spot you were in, the weather that day, the emotions you felt. Chances are they took measures to make that moment special for you so you would always remember it. These are examples of relationship-rich engagement, going above and beyond to creating meaningful interactions.

To develop a community which naturally produces an atmosphere of relationship-based support, the use of consistent staffing is critical. When care partners are consistently assigned to support the same residents, they are able to develop those meaningful relationships and develop trust. By knowing the person more genuinely, they are also able to recognize changes in routine, physical condition, or emotional states which can indicate unmet needs. This consistent care can be the key to intervening in potentially harmful situations or decline of the individual. 

The atmosphere of a community can be greatly elevated by a shift in the language used. When staff, residents, and families talk about the community they live and work in, rather than a facility, how might that word shift impact their interactions? If a community is discussed as being a safe and secure environment rather than a locked unit, might the sense of a homelike environment be seen differently? The words we use impact our own thinking, and when an entire community begins to speak differently, they also begin to think differently, and in turn interact differently. Inspired Senior Care encourages a shift from institutional wording to that of person-centered and relationship based language to enhance the relationships and interactions of all. 

A tip to use in growing relationships is the 2-Minute Rule. When approaching another individual with a goal in mind, take 2 minutes to focus on the relationship and genuine interaction before attempting the task. Take the time to share a cup of coffee, to compliment their new haircut, ask them for their advice. Find ways to connect with the person on a personal level, and then transition into the work that you will partner together to accomplish. Many say, “We don’t have time for that”, but I challenge them to consider that time as an investment in the relationship and ultimately the quality of life for all involved. 

As the new year begins, Inspired Senior Care will continue to support its followers through the vision of its founder, Leslie Fuller. “I am personally committed to sharing insight that provides empowerment to elevate the lives of others. I envision a world where seniors, particularly those living with dementia, and all of the individuals working with them are treated with understanding, supported with respect, and are able to develop genuine relationships with one another. Through growing awareness and understanding of the Building Blocks of Inspired Senior Care, I believe we can all be a part of creating that world.”  It starts with the 12 Building Block of Inspired Senior Care, and it ends with you! 


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