There are two things I remember about the last time I saw my great-grandmother: She was a centenarian. She was still actively working in the fields. I was too young to find out how, when, and where she eventually died. Not on the farm, I think.
Not too many nursing homes are located among cornfields or cattle farms. Yet, for a significant proportion of long-term care clients, the farm is where they yearn to die in. We can try to make each resident’s room as “home-like” as possible, but can we do something about what’s around the facility as well? Can we plan recreational activities that involve elements of seeding, growing, harvesting, or breeding? How about field trips in the fields? Are there wheelchair-friendly and accessible tractors that one can ride on?
Our long-term care population is becoming increasingly diverse. We are doing a fairly good job in catering to urban dwellers who are now stuck in a facility that is likely quite a distance from the city center. However, being in a suburban area isn’t the same as being in a “rural” area. Even the dust in the air is not the same.
Cultural competence and awareness extend beyond racial and ethnic differences. Knowing the history of cottonfields is nice, but knowing the place of cornfields in some residents’ hearts matters too.