Combating the Anonymity of Aging
Senior Living Residences created the Lifetime Achievement Award Program in 2010 to offer an antidote to the isolation and anonymity experienced by individuals with memory loss. It was so well received and beloved by everyone involved in the process – residents, their families, our staff, and outside referral partners – that we expanded it beyond our Compass Memory Support Neighborhoods to all residents in our Assisted Living communities. Throughout the last decade thousands of seniors living in an SLR community have received this special award of personal recognition.
So Much More Than an Award
Highlighting the achievements and experiences of residents in a public ceremony confers dignity and personal recognition to them, evoking positive feelings of pride and identity. When a new resident moves into one of our communities they may have suffered a series of losses – perhaps they have lost a spouse, dear lifelong friends, their home, their ability to drive. Seniors can begin to feel anonymous, with a career, accomplishments, and peers who knew them really well, in the distant past. As Bob Larkin, President of SLR, said, “There’s a kind of ‘anonymity syndrome’ that can accompany old age especially among those living with Alzheimer’s, and SLR has found a way to help our residents defeat that anonymity.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award creates a meaningful experience for the resident’s family, who often come to us exhausted and worried, especially those who have been caring for a loved one with dementia at home. The very process of developing the award presentation, which involves our staff interviewing family members about their loved one’s unique personality, interests and happier family times, can be a much needed healing exercise for the family.
This award program also allows us, at SLR, the opportunity to get to know residents on a personal level and help share their life story with fellow residents and our staff fostering respect and compassion in our communities. The information imparted to our associates as a result of the Lifetime Achievement Award combats the potential for ‘senior anonymity’ by making the residents’ new caregivers aware of the life story and accomplishments of the person they are seeing every day. This personalizes how our staff relates to and cares for our residents and helps residents settle into their new home with a renewed sense of their individuality and dignity.
“Too many seniors in our society become isolated, but at all of our SLR communities we enjoy learning about our residents’ life stories. Families beam with pride as their loved one is publicly credited for all they have done through the years as individuals, parents, spouses, and career men and women.”
– Tadd Clelland, Partner