Here’s an idea for every residential aging facility that struggles with ambient despair (chronic melancholy, fatigue, pain, sleeplessness and anxiety) that masks itself as “activity indifference” (the resident spends her entire day in her room or a chair in the main lobby avoiding activities and other residents).
Historically, such residents have simply been written off, until the day arrives that their Activity of Daily Living (ADL) profile justifies transfer – most go to Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) or to a child’s home.
In most of these cases, the adult children of these residents are the POAs and advocates. Because most children are never contacted unless there’s an acute medical problem, the child is unaware there’s a problem in the first place. And even when the children are contacted about ambient despair, the child’s attitude is usually, “Hey, this is why we pay you a zillion dollars a month.”
In fact, why does the facility administrator even care about these unresponsive residents? The answer is, because after a while, ambient despair creates a “revolving door” syndrome and the cost of filling that bed with a new resident is not insignificant – just ask the Director of Marketing in an eldercare facility.
What to do?
Create a Platinum Club.
A Platinum Club is a Members-Only group whose sole purpose is to create activities that are well-attended. How? Give everyone a monthly discount (X-$5/day) where X is the current rate, to everyone who participates. In this case, that $150 discount off their monthly charge gets the kids excited; they in turn talk to their parent (“Hey dad, why aren’t you attending the Men’s Club and Resident’s Council?”)
If either parent or resident balks, no harm done. It’s just a discount.
Email Martin Bayne at email@example.com