The Changing Face Of Elderly Housing - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/17/04

The Changing Face Of Elderly Housing

Ask someone if they want to live in a nursing home and you'll probably hear a resounding "no". But ask someone if they'd be happy in a place that offers them the care they need , that's more like their home and not a hospital , you'd probably get a different answer. WLOX NEWS, toured a nursing home in Bay St. Louis today that's out to change the way people think and live.

89-year-old , Irenee Staszak relaxes in a place that looks like the home she's lived in for years. But she's not, its a room at Dunbar Village Nursing Home, furnished and decorated with items she brought from home. "I feel at home cause I have things of my own if they furnished it I wouldn't feel as close to it." Said Resident Irenee Staszak . Making residents feel at home is the goal. Dunbar Village has adopted a philosophy called the Eden Alternative for its assisted living residents. Activities Coordinator Sarah Sulyma told WLOX , "It takes away the feeling of like a hospital feeling or say a nursing home feeling or something like that." Assistant Administrator, Bob Huet Echoed her words. " It Removes the environment in nursing home facilities from one of an institution to one that's more home like. To reduce the trauma of moving a person from one environment to one that's totally different. "

Nursing home leaders know many of their residents had pets they loved when they lived at home.. That's why birds, dogs and cats are allowed here. Huet said , "You see a difference in the residents demeanor and in their personality." He added, encouraging residents to bring their day-to-day routines to the nursing home, makes their adjustment to new surroundings easier. "We've gotten away from set times for meals. Instead we give residents a window that way those who like to sleep a little later . Those who like an early breakfast can still have their early breakfast." Residents like Irenee Staszak says the Eden Alternative works for her. "I do as I please what more would I ask for at my age."

Friends and family members are allowed to sign out assisted living residents. Nursing home leaders say outings, like shopping and movies are healthy ways residents can stay familiar with their old routines. 

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