Why Diversity is Important No Matter Our Age

Jun 24, 2020
multiracial senior couples socializing on the beach

Diversity plays an amazing role in life. It can expand our own small corner of the planet beyond what we could personally experience. Take a moment to consider all the unique people who have crossed your path and you might see how your world view changed.

We may need to invite diversity into our lives though because we’re typically drawn to those who are similar, not different. But humankind is enriched when we reach out to those who are distinctive from us, whether it’s our gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, age or economic background

Why We Like Similarities

One of the more advantageous benefits of growing older is that we do indeed become wiser. Over the years, we learn that life is rarely remarkable when it’s surrounded by only those who mirror us. By sharing our stories, we realize that we can better see the world when we also look at it through their eyes.

Research in human relationships has generally found that we’re naturally attracted to those we perceive as similar to ourselves. Why? Here are a few speculations:

  1. They validate our own view of the world, making us feel more confident that our observations are accurate.
  2. As we generally feel positive about ourselves, we tend to feel the same about those who are similar. We also reason that they’ll have other positive traits as well.
  3. They appeal to our avoidance and fear of being rejected. When we like someone who is similar to us, we assume they will also like us.
  4. We imagine it will be more pleasant and fun to spend time together with those we share similar traits, likes and dislikes.

The value of diversity

Although it may not come naturally to seek out differences, that is so often where we find the flavor of life. There is much we can learn from each other, which helps us gain a better perspective.

Other advantages of an intentionally diverse life may include:

  • An ability to create more authentic relationships
  • It enriches our own experiences, leading to a more interesting life
  • Helps us confront our biases and challenges our predeterminations
  • It expands our view of the world
  • It can help reduce discrimination and racism

Finding diversity in Senior Living

If you’re considering moving into an Independent Living community, this might be the perfect time to create a more diverse experience in your own life.

As communities evolve to become a more accurate representation of the world we live in, you might want to search for those who celebrate all the wonderful differences their residents and staff bring. Consider asking these questions when you visit:

  1. Has the staff been trained in diversity practices?
  2. Does the community celebrate the diversity of its residents and staff, such as through food choices, holiday celebrations, religious services and a variety of activities?
  3. Are there policies in place so that all residents and staff will be treated equally? Is there a zero-tolerance for discrimination?
  4. What action steps does the community take to encourage and embrace inclusiveness?
  5. When you walk through the front door, do you feel welcome and at home by the surroundings, people, social activities and planned events?

How culture change is changing lives

The world of senior living is changing along with everyone else. If you’re interested in living an engaged and fulfilling retirement life, search for those communities that embrace person-directed values and practices. You’ll find evidence of this in the relationships, choices, encouragement of self-determination and support for purposeful living.

One priority of the community should be their promotion of all residents and staff to live an authentic life.

John Ganton’s Countryside’s Senior Living community

We support the Dimensions of Wellness that contribute to the health and wellbeing of all individuals. These include:

Social wellness: Having a network of friends and family for support, sharing life experiences and maintaining positive relationships

Emotional wellness: An ability to express and manage anger, fear, happiness and sadness while possessing self-esteem and a sense of humor

Intellectual wellness: Valuing education, moral reasoning, critical thinking and expanding world views through lifelong learning

Physical wellness: Striving to learn and utilize healthy habits, including exercise and nutrition, and recognizing how behavior impacts wellness

Spiritual wellness: Searching for meaning and purpose in human existence and developing an appreciation for the depth of life

Occupational wellness: maintaining a balance with career, volunteering or other pursuits and maintaining a desire to make a positive impact

Environmental wellness: interacting with nature and appreciating the connection between nature and the individual

At Countryside, we embrace the diversity of our residents, their loved ones and our staff. While we celebrate our distinctions, we often discover that we also have many similarities in common.

We’re here to support you in living your best life possible. Our intention is to provide you with the community and the opportunities you need to reach your goals. From lifelong learning, connecting with others, keeping physically fit and emotionally engaged, we believe you’ll find yourself on the right path.

For information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

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