Humanistic Eldercare: Toward a New Conceptual Framework for Aging and Care

As family members, friends, professionals and care-partners, we will need to face our own aging, as well as the aging of those elders for whom we might need to care. These elders can be our own parents, siblings, or other relatives, can be friends or acquaintances. Elders might also be part of our professional clientele, as therapy clients, as people for whom we are responsible as guardians or conservators, as care-partners, staff, managers and directors of eldercare communities throughout the country.  How we face aging and eldercare is largely based on the mindset with which we approach these challenges. This mindset frames how we apply our knowledge, skills, and passion, how we assist and partner with elders in all aspects of their care. The mindset we use also informs our attitude towards how we understand our meaning of life, what we understand to be important and of value.

To honor elders as wisdom keepers and social contributors sets the stage to look at elders from their needs in terms of connecting, feeling valued, that they can give and receive – like all of us.   The question becomes: what can we do to remind ourselves of the fundamental needs they and all of us have? How can we live in a deep relationship with our elders – including our own inner elder – and receive their wisdom so important in terms of us living a meaningful and sustainable life?