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Your Residents Don't Live In A Room

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By Kent Mulkey

You move to a new city and need to find a place to live. You meet with a realtor. She tells you she would be happy to help you find housing.

What did she just say? Housing?

You aren’t just looking for housing, you want to find a home. Do you think I am splitting hairs here, of which I have very few? I mean, do words really matter?

I watch enough crime shows to be a forensic psychologist and to know what building "prisoners" live in are called housing units. Stop a minute and think about how many times you and I have called the places where residents live “units.” Admit it.

Recently, I moved to a new city, and found a house . . . a home. My longtime senior care career was turned right side up when I started a new job as executive director at Touchmark at Meadow Lake Village outside Boise, Idaho. I went from working in senior housing to a new career in senior living. There are over 500  older adults living on the nearly 100-acre campus, and nowhere do you hear the words housing, units or rooms. They are homes and cottages.

At Touchmark, it is all about living an active, full life. There was the fall trip to see the colors in New England and the weekend trips to Sun Valley, Idaho, to ski and take in the mountain air. The pub crawls at hip and happening microbrew pubs in downtown Boise. The large health and fitness club on campus that is tailored to those over 50 and is open to the public for membership. 

When you get older do you want to live in a housing unit, facility or room? Or do you want to live in your home as a member of a community, enjoying the services provided and participating in engaging and dynamic living?

Language matters. Words are used to make sense of the world, to create reality. 

I’d love to hear about it.

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