As the face of America is equally becoming more culturally diverse, senior car facilities are finding it challenging to become not only culturally sensitive but culturally attractive to the growing diverse elder population. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that within the next three years 25% of adults age 65 and over will be non-Caucasians.
Senior Living Centers must keep up with the changes in demographics, and how do they appeal to a multitude of cultures — all at the same time.
Some senior living facilities have turned to cultural niches with emphasis on certain particular cultures such as Asian Americans or Hispanic Americans. You don’t have to generalize your senior living facility and steal appeal to a diverse population by incorporating as many cultural traditions as possible. Here are some tips on serving cultural needs in senior living centers.
Ethnically Diverse Foods
Serving a wide array of food will be attractive to anyone. Train your kitchen staff on cultural dietary restrictions and be sure to always have an alternative option for those that are unable to eat certain meal options, such as a Kosher alternative. Switching up the menu on a weekly or daily basis to serve different styles of foods is a great way to include many cultural groups but to also help your residents to not become tiresome of the same meal every day. Offering culturally diverse cooking classes in another great choice if you have a facility with active seniors that would like to participate in learning new dishes or want to show others their own traditional meals.
Hiring care providers and other personnel that can speak multiple languages is a major plus to residents who would like to be able to speak to others in their native tongue. This can be difficult as there is a multitude of different languages or dialects, however just having translators available would be a huge plus as well.
Respecting and celebrating traditions and holidays
Training your staff and personnel on the differences among cultural holidays and traditions is extremely important as you will reduce possibilities of offending anyone or leaving groups out. Staff must also be aware of behavioral and emotional differences in cultures such as avoiding eye contact as a sign of respect to some.
Be sure to celebrate the holidays of your resident’s cultures as well as the traditional American holidays. Residents will appreciate the ability to experience new traditions and to teach others about their own.
Access to diverse cultural entertainment
Provide your residents with access to foreign films, literature, and music so they can feel the comforts of home. If you bring in entertainment to your facility look not dancers, musicians, and speakers, etc who deliver cultural experiences similar to those of your residents. If there are museums or cultural centers close by providing transportation to and from these places will be a huge attraction to residents that crave cultural experiences.
Providing a Sense of Community
The most important thing to keep in mind when serving cultural needs in senior living centers is to keep everyone included and to create a sense of community among diversity. Residents play an important role in making other residents feel welcome so try to always include everyone together to eliminate the potential of cliques forming among different groups. When serving cultural needs in senior living centers always be culturally sensitive to those around you and open-minded to the needs of others.
Attract Residents of Diverse Backgrounds by Highlighting How Your Senior Living Facility Attunes to the Cultural Needs of Various Ethnicities
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