The ‘Indices’ of the Naturally Occurring LIVING Community (NOLC)

As indicated, in our prior Blog entry, the concern and vigilance of citizens in the Naturally Occurring LIVING Communities (NOLC’s) are essential. However, support, concern and care can also be found in the organizations that are inherently embedded in your NOLC.

The Indices of the NOLC:

As we were constructing our research protocols – we began to explore what ‘indices’ did we want to assess? Our internal dialogue began by identifying the indicators that we thought would be of value. Our final assessment template addresses the following factors:

  • Demographic Information: (age, sex, ethnicity and marital status)
  • Financial Information:(Source of income: Employment, SSI, SSA/SSDI, Pension…etc.)
  • Interests: (Hobbies, Home Activities, Travel & Recreation)
  • Living Arrangements: (Description of: number of individuals you live with, sense of safety in your home and adequacy of support in your home)
  • Health Care Information: (Description of Insurance Benefits, diagnosis and medical specialists, i.e., neurology, psychiatry, psychology, occupational therapists and physical therapists)
  • Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s): (Description of: ambulation, dressing, eating, self-care, elimination and ability to independently transferring)
  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s): (Description of: telephone use, communication, travel, shopping, meal prep, securing food, housework, medications and money use)
  • Decisions of Life Direction (DLD): (Description of: preferences, engaging and participating in activities of interest, needs being met, autonomy in selecting living arrangements, friends, roommates and personal opinions being validated)
  • Self-Health Report: (Description of overall health, as well as, descriptions of mental and emotional profiles)
  • Self-Perception of Wellness: (Description of self awareness regarding: disability, spirituality, kindness, contentment, connection to friends, ability to relax and safety)
  • Planning and Service Use: (Description of needs and knowledge of existing community-based services)
  • Community Participation (Naturally Occurring LIVING Community): (Description of: associations, clubs (Scouting organizations, 4-H clubs, senior centers, YMCA’s…etc.), religious organizations, civic organizations, municipal supports (Post Office, Parks, Pools, Schools…etc.), local businesses (banks, barber shops, florists, grocery stores, gaming, coffee shops, transportation options, convenience stores, malls, schools, movies, pharmacies, supermarkets and sporting events…etc.), connection with family, neighbors, friends and pets)

Rationale:

As noted by our selection of ‘indices’, we combined both traditional and standardized measures with unique assessment strategies to explore the depth and breadth of connection each individual has with their community. This combined effort provided us a profile and an enriched understanding of how important and vital the connection is to the Naturally Occurring LIVING Community (NOLC).

Summary Points:

Connections matters. And ‘connections’ take on many faces.  This statement needs to be underscored. For some, it is the support of family, friend and neighbor. For others, support is found in the community – being recognized by your presence or  missed by your absence is important. Organizations and agencies need to broaden their perspective regarding the important role that they play in reducing social isolation. Although their efforts may be based on goodwill, without embedding the role of the existing community – their efforts will be hollow and fall short, i.e., not everything justifies an agency response. Program developers, policymakers and institutional architects need to understand the value found in one’s surrounding existing community. Individuals want to remain in their own homes rather than having to move to a community care agency-based facility.  Citizens of a community want choice, options, independence and pathways to dignity.

A connection to one’s Naturally Occurring LIVING Community (NOLC) is vital.

*** (More to follow regarding the strategies to use in discovering the connections within one’s  Naturally Occurring LIVING Community)