Harry: a case study in well-being

Well-being is a subjective concept that varies from person to person, and when it comes to supporting older clients, it becomes crucial to understand their individual needs and find ways to enhance their well-being across different domains. Harry Burns, a former veterinarian from Kansas, provides a compelling example.

Professional identity played a significant role in Harry’s life. While he responded to the name Harry, being referred to as Dr. Burns elevated his sense of self. Recognizing this, staff members ensured that they greeted him using his professional title, Dr. Burns, watching him stand a little taller each time. To provide a sense of connection, efforts were made to introduce Harry to new residents who also had a farming or medical background. Due to his diminished vision, his sense of safety became fragile, yet was countered by his need to drive independently. Through honest conversation, though initially met with resistance, Harry understood the safety concerns for himself and others and ultimately surrendered his car keys. He was encouraged to use the local transportation options and developed confidence in this new safer option. 

Autonomy was crucial for Harry. He had been raised on a farm and had always been self-sufficient. The staff recognized his determination, and offered their support through the use of the pendant call system. They reassuring him that the staff would give him the confidence to function independently, yet they would be there as a backup should he ever need assistance. During daily conversations with staff and other residents, Harry was regularly sought out for advice and was invited to contribute to new projects, becoming a valuable counsel. This involvement allowed him to feel valued and maintain a sense of purpose.

Harry developed a relationship with a woman from the community. They attended dances and events together, and Harry shared his expertise through advising her about her cat. This interpersonal connection promoted growth and fulfillment in his personal life. Harry’s ability to engage with these various domains of well-being brought him confidence and helped him find joy in daily experiences.

Supporting older clients in enhancing their well-being requires a tailored approach that considers their individuality. By recognizing and nurturing their identities, promoting connectedness, ensuring security and autonomy, fostering meaning and growth, and facilitating joy, we can encourage them to lead fulfilling lives in their later years. Learn more about The Eden Alternative Domains of Well-Being®️ here.

To learn more about supporting the seven domains of wellness for the seniors in your lives,  follow the Inspired Senior Care Instagram channel during June. By increasing our awareness and taking steps towards promoting well-being, we can make a significant difference in the lives of those around us.

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