‘Human connection’ – is this your job?

Everyone likes to feel ‘connected’.

In fact the World Health Organisation and Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs both identify that one of the key attributes for wellness is human connection.

But is connecting residents in your village and their wellness in your job description?

It is common knowledge that residents join villages often for the sense of community.

Multiple surveys and research outcomes over the last decade find that in fact one of the most satisfying aspects of village life for residents is the sense of community, interaction with neighbours and the human connection experienced.

We all get that. But….

The resident journey

As operators we promise a lifestyle… which for most residents is enjoyed in its fullest in their early years in a village; but what happens when residents start to age? They experience an increase in frailty, poorer health, and ultimately their ability to access social activities in the wider community or within the village decline.

For instance Bob moved into the village 15 years ago with his wife who has recently passed.  Bob has been always played bowls twice a week and he continues to see many of his friends. 

However a month after his wife passed Bob had a stroke which has resulted in his loss of his drivers license. Without his license and his wife he now finds getting out to social activities difficult, so he starts to spend more time just at home, rarely attending Happy Hour or other village functions as it is not the same on his own.

What is our duty of care or what role should we play in assisting Bob remain connected?  Part of the appeal in moving into a community is the promise of connection, neighbourhoods, lifestyle, social activity etc…. 

A Village Manager can play a pivotal role in helping Bob remain connected, social and active.

Perhaps you can put a system in place to check in on Bob over the first 6 months? Talk with Bob about what are the options he might like to access to remain socially connected.

Can you assist Bob by linking him up with someone at the Bowls Club that may drive past, or is going from the village?

Can you link Bob with a buddy from the village to attend some of the social functions?

Do you have a village Friends and Neighbours Support group of volunteers that may be able to help from time to time?

Can you show Bob how easy it is to access Uber? 

Would Bob perhaps qualify for some social transport under a home care package – can you point him in the right direction?

Wellbeing and reward

The wellbeing of residents as they age will rely on the skill of the Village Manager to be proactive and identify the steps in each resident’s journey, and the resources and knowledge to be able to support them to access opportunities for social and human connection.

In our experience the positive impact is fast and incredibly rewarding – for residents and your own job satisfaction.

To give you some ideas you can also check this terrific video by Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT, on their 10K Project. (Click HERE). 

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