Reconsideration of senior centers. Perspective of the geriatrician.
- Mihai Viorel Zamfir
PhD.St., MD Geriatrics and Gerontology, National Institute of Gerontology and Geriatrics “Ana Aslan”, Bucharest, Romania / University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila”, Bucharest, Romania
The main reasons for the emergence of senior centers include increasing life expectancy and changing social structures, by switching from the traditional extended family with several generations to a narrow family or to isolated individuals. Elderly patients often have multiple co-morbidities and loss of autonomy, requiring assistance with daily activities. Ageism is a real problem în a society that values youthfullness. The schism between generations, rejection and isolation is accompanied by a marked sense of futility felt by elderly persons. For these reasons, senior centers have an important component of social and medical assistance through the services they offer.
In Western Europe and Northern America, the spectrum of this settings is broad, ranging from residential ensembles and elderly communities to hospitals of different types. The necessity of long-term care initially led to the appearance of Nursing Homes for people with marked loss of autonomy and important need for continous medical assistance. Assisted Living Facilities, for relatively autonomous persons, emerged as an alternative whith the philosophy of respect for residents’ preferences and of increase în autonomy. In Romania, senior centers are represented especially by nursing homes, public or private, and by community centers (organized by the local community) that provide various social services. In which direction will go the development of senior centers remains to be established by the Romanian society and by its ability to understand the elderly persons and the aging process.
Keywords: senior centers, social and medical assistance, ageism, Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Facilities