Resident happiness is the ultimate quality indicator for aged care.
There was a sea of smiling elderly faces yesterday as we launched our much-anticipated quality of life measurement tool, The Happy Life Index, supported by the Aged Care Guild.
Data collection and quality measurement have been a hot topic in the aged care sector of late, and the Happy Life Index serves as Australia’s first feedback collection software designed to measure the moments that matter to aged care residents and gauge their level of happiness.
Research shows that people who have positive goals and partake in positive tasks are 15% more satisfied with their lives than others, and a simple daily walk can raise a person’s level of happiness by up to 12%.
Feeling socially isolated can have a devastating effect on a person’s mental health, which is why it comes as no surprise that having a positive circle of friends reduced the amount of worry in women by 55%.
Historically, the aged care sector has focused on clinical care as the hallmark of great service, but industry and consumer support for The Happy Life Index is an indication that aged care in Australia is beginning to broaden its horizons in regards to what care actually is.
CarePage founder and CEO, Lauren Todorovic, shared her thoughts on the importance of the Happy Life Index, and why resident happiness is the greatest indicator of high-quality care.
“Care quality obviously plays a big role in the well being of elderly people in aged care, and even though it is essential that this is a high priority, again, this is merely one aspect of a resident’s life,” said Lauren.
“Today we are here to shine the light on happiness. How to measure it and how to improve it.”
The Aged Care Guild – who represents Australia’s leading private residential aged care facilities – was in attendance, with their CEO, Matthew Richter speaking on the Guild’s support for the Happy Life Index as part of their positive vision for the future of aged care.
“There have been countless studies and reviews into the aged care sector over the years, but finally we have something that allows residents to let providers know how they feel about their aged care experience,” said Mr. Richter.
“Feedback is not something that needs to be shied away from anymore, in fact, it is the best insight that we can possibly have that will allow us to drive positive change in the aged care sector.”
“Everyone deserves the right to feel happy in their home, and older people are no exception. And that’s what makes it such an important tool to have in an aged care facility.”
The Happy Life Index was co-designed with both aged care residents and providers following years of research that included consultation with over 1,000 elderly Australians from across the country.
This process highlighted seven key areas of importance that aged residents felt had the biggest impact on their overall happiness, all of which are measured via The Happy Life Index.
This data is then compiled into detailed reports that allow providers to see which areas they are succeeding in, and which areas are in need of improvement.
The seven areas of importance for aged care residents are food quality, lifestyle & activities, staff friendliness, staff presence, quality of care, facility management and environment – all of which are direct experiences that providers can make an impact upon.
President of the Victorian Laughter Club, Mahes Karuppah-Quillen, was in attendance for today’s launch and had the residents of the Bluecross Ivanhoe were in stitches.
Mahes treated residents to a laughter-yoga session, and the smiles and laughter were nothing short of infectious.
There was howling laughter, there was self-conscious giggling, there were even residents who were forced to pull out their handkerchief to wipe away the tears of joy.
Mahesh has dedicated a lifetime to helping people find an inner joy through laughter, and she reminded those in attendance why happiness should not be an afterthought within our daily lives.
“Today was just a wonderful atmosphere, they were so receptive. I really enjoyed it. Happiness needs to be at the top of importance for people of all ages, and that includes older people.”
“Measuring happiness and figuring out how (aged care providers) can bring more joy to the lives of older people is a fantastic thing. Having good food, being surrounded by good people and living in a great environment is how you add quality to a person’s life.”
Despite the fun of yesterday’s launch, The Happy Life Index was created to address some of the very real problems that are faced by those living in aged care, and those looking for aged care for a loved one.
“The Happy Life Index was created to give providers an understanding of how their residents feel about their care and promote more transparency within the aged care sector,” said Lauren.
“We want to provide people and families with more information about particular services, and give aged care residents, their families, and aged care employees a real voice when it comes to improving aged care for older people.”
“Happiness and living a fulfilled life should not be expectations that are forced to change due to a person’s age. And we are proud to provide a solution that plays a part in ensuring that older people who live in aged care homes have the experience that they deserve.”