Group Residences for Older Adults; Physical Features, Policies, and Social Climate By Rudolph H. Moos and Sonne Lemke, 1994, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 285 pages, $55.00, cloth cover
Suggested readership: researchers and practitioners of gerontology, community psychologists and social service professionals interested in improving existing residential settings and planning new ones.
It is well known that the residential environment, including the physical and social, are important factors contributing to the quality of life for the many older citizens living in group settings. It is further recognized that a growing number of older adults are living in supportive residential facilities. Citing a need for evaluating these diverse facilities within a common framework, the authors present a conceptual model to evaluate the impact of the environment in residential facilities for older persons living in three types of settings: nursing homes, residential care facilities and congregate apartments. The framework for understanding these residential settings is based on detailed information gathered about more than 300 group settings located throughout the United States.
Their conceptual framework focuses on the personal and environmental factors that contribute to residents' adjustment and wellbeing. The authors conceptualize the program environment as composed of four main sets of factors and developed a set of procedures for measuring them. These sets of factors include resident and staff characteristics, the facility's physical features, the facility policies and services, the social climate and ownership and facility size.
The book offers compelling support that older adults require residential settings that are planned and managed according to the principles of continuity, selective optimization and compensation. The authors demonstrate how these guidelines with quality assessment and evaluation programs to provide ongoing feedback to competent and informed staff can indeed contribute to promoting a sense of meaning until the very end of life for older persons.