Community and the Aging Adult
Institutionalization entails the depersonalization or objectification of the nursing home resident, lessening the resident to a standard list of caregiving tasks that flattens their multidimensionality (Hensel, 2015). Instead of tailoring care to the personal preferences of residents so as to maximize efficiency, institutionalization tends to standardize care. Residents with physical disabilities and those with dementia who cannot speak tend to be more vulnerable. One of the policies that can be introduced to lessen institutionalism in residential facilities is the care plan policy that places emphasis on person-centered care.
This type of care emphasizes the holistic view of an individual as a unique person with unique needs and emphasizes health-care partnerships, flexibility in healthcare, enforcing ethical paradigms of self-determination and autonomy, and recognizing the values and preferences of the patient (Vassbø et al., 2019). It is important to develop relationships with the clients in nursing homes, promote their well-being, and ensure that the residents lead meaningful lives. A care plan policy ensures that residents obtain appropriate care that is unique to their needs. It also emphasizes the need for modification when necessary. A care plan policy that follows person-centered care is common in most residential facilities, but only in theory. This is because most facilities have challenges putting in place a person-centered philosophy, and this means that care remains standardized and unmodified for most clients (Backman, Sandman & Sköldunger, 2021).
An activities policy could also help lessen institutionalism. The residents should have access to various activities that intrigue them to help them have fun and socialize with others. These activities will also help prevent boredom and help the residents to try various activities like dances, movie nights, yoga, and religious studies. According to Hensel (2015), digital stories can be included in the activities to help the residents remember their youthful selves and remind the caregivers of the varied humanity of the clients they are caring for. These digital stories should include stories of the residents in videos, such as one who was very good in softball or football. Cues can also be framed in pictures of the younger player. By telling these stories, it is expected that the caregivers will have a changed attitude toward how they care for their clients and modify their care plans to become more personalized. The activity policy is also common among most residential facilities but using digital stories is quite uncommon.
Erikson’s Psychosocial Development
If an individual suffers from institutionalism, they are likely to be in the despair stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development. This stage involves a conflict between integrity and despair as individuals reflect on the past and piece together positive reviews or conclude that they have not spent their lives well (Santrock, 2019). Erikson claims that if the older adult feels that they resolved at least one of their earlier stages negatively, such as stagnation in middle adulthood or social isolation in early adulthood, then their general assessment of their life’s worth might be negative. When individuals are more engaged in their lives and can feel a sense of autonomy and self-determination, they are likely to evaluate their lives in a positive manner. Institutionalism encourages a system likely to cause older adults to be lonely and isolated and develop depression and even suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Transitioning into a residential care facility is critical for older adults as it requires adaptation to new environments. Most residents are said to experience huge emotional reactions, isolation, limited communication opportunities, and various changes in life patterns and support (Backman, Sandman & Sköldunger, 2021). The residents also tend to lose their autonomy and develop high levels of stress as they face an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people. Institutionalism is likely to increase the tendency of residents to feel helpless, lonely, and depressed as it takes away their sense of self-worth through mundane activities that are generalized for all of them. However, suppose person-centered care is administered to meet the individual needs of the residents and allow for flexibility and autonomy in the manner in which the residents can conduct their activities. In that case, residents are more likely to evaluate their lives positively and feel a sense of integrity as opposed to despair.
Significance of Understanding the Emotional, Physical, Cognitive, and Social Development of the Aging Adult
Understanding the emotional, physical, cognitive, and social development of the aging adult is important in a clinical setting as it will help steer the staff towards more person-centered care. This is equated to a quality kind of care that helps boost the residents’ well-being and quality of life. Successful aging comprises a perceived control over one’s environment (Santrock, 2019). This perceived control enhances longevity and is often linked to self-efficacy, which increases one’s confidence in their ability to yield positive results. According to Santrock (2019), it is important to have an understanding of the lifespan development of individuals, taking into consideration the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development, as this will be beneficial to future older adult generations who will be able to have an enhanced understanding of how to lead a life that is healthier, longer and more satisfying and productive.
Backman, A., Sandman, P. O., & Sköldunger, A. (2021). Characteristics of nursing home units with high versus low levels of person-centered care in relation to leadership, staff-resident-and facility factors: findings from SWENIS, a cross-sectional study in Sweden. BMC geriatrics, 21(1), 1-11.
Hensel, B. (2015). Using digital stories to fight institutionalism in nursing homes. Reynolds Journalism Institute. https://rjionline.org/rji-fellowships/using-digital-stories-to-fight-institutionalism-in-nursing-homes/
Santrock, J. (2019). Lifespan Development (17ed). McGraw Hill Education.
Vassbø, T. K., Kirkevold, M., Edvardsson, D., Sjögren, K., Lood, Q., & Bergland, Å. (2019). The meaning of working in a person-centered way in nursing homes: a phenomenological-hermeneutical study. BMC Nursing, 18(1), 1-8.
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A community’s response to the physical and mental health needs of its aging population has become a highly publicized topic in recent years. Taking into account your community’s elderly residential facilities, apply the following:
Discuss what policies might a residential facility develop to minimize the chances that its residents will develop “institutionalism”
Include whether or not such policies are common or uncommon
Determine which stage of Erikson’s psychosocial development an aging adult may be in if they are suffering from institutionalism
Explain how understanding the: social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development of the Aging Adult can be helpful in a clinical setting
Assignment Expectations for Grading:
1. Demonstration of critical thinking, scholarship, and ability to connect and apply the material
2. Comprehensiveness and completeness of your responses
3. Adherence to the written instructions
4. Spelling and grammar
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