Feeling independent and self-sufficient helps boost our mood, self-esteem, and overall sense of being in control of ourselves and our environment. The concept of “Personal Care” was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s on the east and west coasts of the US in response to changes in attitudes towards the way seniors should be cared for. Also, many seniors wanted to avoid the hospital-like setting of nursing home care. A new respect for the emotional needs of older adults was emerging.
In an article in the journal The Gerontologist, Researcher Dr. Keren Brown Wilson describes being influenced by her mother, Jessie, following her mother’s stroke at the age of 55. As a young researcher, Dr. Wilson realized that the only care option for her mother was the hospital-like setting of a nursing home. When Dr. Wilson told her mother she was planning to enter the field of gerontology, or the study of older adults and aging, her mother quipped, “Well, why aren’t you doing something to help people like me?”
Dr. Wilson took on her mother’s challenge and became a pioneer in the field of Personal Care. Known as “The Mother of Personal Care,” Dr. Wilson envisioned a new model of care that provided support but also respected the abilities and autonomy of her mother.
Her Personal Care model included a private apartment, supportive and individualized services, and the ability of a resident to make choices about his or her health care and daily activities.
The Personal Care of today is structured on these same principles: an understanding of and respect for a resident’s independence and privacy with the supportive services necessary to maximize independence. This basic approached has led to the many benefits of Personal Care:
- Personalized Care tailored to the individual needs of residents
- Private Apartment Space usually with a kitchenette and bath
- Social Interaction through organized activities and events
- Nutritious Meals usually planned by a dietician
- A Safe Environment in both structure and security
- Staff Available usually around the clock
- Peace of Mind for Adult Children and Other Loved Ones
- Medication Management
- Cognitive Engagement
- Psychological Wellbeing stemming from a sense of autonomy
- Focus on Enjoyment of Life since maintenance, laundry, housekeeping, and other domestic chores are attended to by community staff
- No Need for Driving since transportation is provided for shopping or appointments outside of the community
Personal Care in a Life Plan Community like The Heritage of Green Hills, or a community that offers a continuum of care services, has additional benefits:
- Availability of other Care Services, such as Rehabilitation, Memory, and Respite care
- Amenities, such as indoor pools, fitness centers, classes, rehabilitation/exercise equipment, gardens, and walking paths
- Continuity of Care since all levels of care are generally located on one campus; care is available if needs change over time
- No Need to Move should care needs change
Thanks to Dr. Wilson and her mother, we can enjoy the benefits of Personal Care, a care model with a “philosophy emphasizing resident autonomy in homelike settings,” says Dr. Wilson. No wonder so many seniors are grateful to her for her pioneering work in advocating for Personal Care!
If you or a loved one would like to explore options for Personal Care, please contact us to schedule a visit or give us a call to talk to a representative at (610) 775-1451. You can also watch a video showing our Care Center.