Old Age In A New Age presents a history of nursing homes in America, the stigma and challenges they present today, and the case for needed reform. The focus of the book is on nursing homes, but also touches on assisted living and other alternate senior living communities.

This makes the reader aware of the paradigm shift which is taking place as our population ages and consumers demand an alternative to more traditional ideologies. The profiles presented introduce pioneers of the transformative movement, their struggles, challenges and rewards, and points out that the process of reform is “a journey, never a destination.”

It prompts the readers to examine their personal perceptions of what eldercare should look like, define what faith, trust, honor, and dignity mean to them personally as they age, and what constitutes a home. These pioneers tell how their awareness evolved, how they involved others in the process, from residents, families, and staff, and how the changes made have transformed the lives of all.

One example is as simple as asking a resident, “If you could choose what to do for just five minutes, at any time of the day, what would it be?” Their request then would be implemented by an administrator who would be empathetically living the life of a resident with a disability for 24 hours.

The book also emphasizes that although facilities must have rules and regulations, allowing residents to take risks and make choices must come first, while remembering that “beautiful buildings do not equal beautiful care.” The author also brings to the reader’s attention that reform, besides centering on the resident’s environment and care, must include supervisory staff valuing and empowering the “hands on” staff—the aides.

Employee retention and turnover is a crisis and will only increase as the senior population grows. It is cited that “workers don’t leave their jobs. They leave their supervisors. If an employee [an aide] thinks you don’t believe in them, they will leave you.” Many instances are presented in the book where a commitment has been made to honor the work of the aide and benefits are reaped throughout the facility. Opinion: Old Age in a New Age is a proactive wakeup call written in an easy-to-read style. Our need is to challenge the status quo, look beyond the surface, advocate for our seniors, and demand quality.

I recommend this book as valuable to professionals, family members, and future consumers of senior care alike. The book documents multiple case studies that make evident that change can happen. The only addition, which I feel would be helpful for consumers, is a comprehensive list of questions to assist with impartially evaluating options for senior care.

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Reprinted with permission from Aginglife.org. Contact us today and let help us help you.