Oct 16, 2011

Aesthetics for Seniors or PLEASE PAINT MY WORLD YELLOW!

I read an article written by a young woman about her grandmother's last years.  Grandma was living in a nursing home or some other institutionalized environment.  The question the young woman was exploring touched a nerve for me.  She could not understand why it was so hard to go and visit her grandmother and talk to her.  I think she wrote the piece so she could come to grips with her grief and guilt.  One could see that she felt it should not be so hard to spend some time with a person you love.

What caught my interest specifically was the paragraph about the appearance of the place her grandmother lived.  Wall were painted that institutional color that sucks all the light of halls and room.  Uncombed hair and a room devoid of personal effects left the young woman feeling alone and slightly afraid in the presence of this loved one. I wondered how others related to this same situation.

Bring life into our life!
Then I paid a short visit to a website calle "Aging in Place" where Patrick Roden writes.  The article Dr. Roden wrote about sex in the nursing home just jumped from the page.  He spoke about ridicule from the staff, loss of privacy, single beds...not a place that encourages what older people need more than anything else.  Human touch.  But the institutions didn't take the beauty of their patients and their situation into account.  Even an old person is more beautiful when they are clean and perfumed.  A hug is easier to give in such a case.

I was taken back to a concept I discovered several month ago that dealt with the importance of aesthetics in the life of the older person.  The name of this blog betrays my belief in the importance I place on the beauty of the things that surround me.

In all of this time I had never once thought about my family or friends and how the appearance of the place where we live might influence their willingness to visit and stay a while.  Young people are not aware of why they don't want to come but could it possibly be that even the color of the paint on the walls is important? Dr. Roden thinks that the "aging in place" concept supports the humanity of the elderly.  It is not only the size of the beds and the privacy a home allows.  It is a sanctuary for the whole family.   It is a good argument for in home care and all that "home" means to the family that makes such arrangements.

As a young senior in good health, I with my husband have moved into a house that is on one level, wheel chair friendly with access to the outdoors and lots of light.  We even have enough room for a live in helper.  We are making this home as beautiful a possible so we can enjoy the years to come surrounded by an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.  Hopefully, it will serve us well for many many years to come.

And yes, we are painting some of the rooms yellow.  I just thought you would want to know.

Be well!

b


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