America’s aging population continues to increase in numbers and in cultural diversity. With the influx of Baby Boomers of all races and nationalities, senior living communities must learn to embrace and accept the different customs associated with this population of seniors.
By 2060, it is estimated that 57% of seniors in America will be Caucasian, while 43% will be racial minorities. As the make-up of senior living communities changes, administrators and front-line staff are given the opportunity to embrace new cultures and celebrate diversity. Acknowledging the differences in your residents gives your community the opportunity to observe the religious holidays, foods, or customs that they might not be accustomed to.
In this blog, we will cover several topics related to embracing cultural diversity. We will touch on what exactly cultural diversity is, the benefits of inclusion of all residents, and how to welcome all to your community.
What is Cultural Diversity and Why Does it Matter?
Cultural diversity is respecting all diverse groups in society, acknowledging our differences, and valuing all residents inclusively. Every resident has a unique background and a story to accompany them. By learning about the importance of their religious practices, holiday celebrations, and favorite foods, a community can offer the resident a connection to their life before they entered an assisted living community.
Understanding that we are all different offers all residents the opportunity to experience a different culture. In this day and age, it would be hard to find Baby Boomers who are not aware of the different cultures that mold our world, but they may not have a complete understanding of the history behind these traditions. Being accepting of others opens the doors to make new friends, try great food, and better understand the diversity that makes our world so interesting.
What are the Benefits of Embracing Cultural Diversity in Your Community?
Acknowledging the customs of different cultures creates an inclusive environment of accommodating all residents. Serving special meals in observance of a resident’s birthday or holiday opens the door for other residents to have exciting new experiences. Research shows that social rejection can lead to aggression, self-isolation, depression, and anxiety in older people. Positive community engagement helps you accommodate all of your residents, no matter how different they might be.
How Can You Embrace Cultural Diversity in Your Community?
If you are not sure where to get started when it comes to embracing cultural diversity at your assisted living community, you have come to the right place! Check out the list below for suggestions to get you started:
- Train your staff to recognize and accommodate the unique needs that accompany different cultures.
- Establish clear policies that state all residents and coworkers must be treated equally, regardless of race, gender, or religion. Make everyone aware that you have a zero-tolerance policy for prejudice or discrimination, whether among staff or other residents.
- Provide activities and programs that offer seniors the opportunity to experience a variety of cultures. For example, make sure Hindu residents can celebrate Diwali and Muslim residents can observe Ramadan.
- Create marketing materials that represent and promote cultural diversity. It is important to provide prospective residents with information that accurately represents your community.
- Provide interpreters for those who need it, especially in medical situations.
Remembering that each person is unique and has something to offer makes your community a welcoming and diverse home.