Nursing Homes are like College Dorms

When I went away to college, my dorm room, much to my parents’ chagrin, was on a co-ed hall with alternating boy/girl rooms, just like the halls of nursing homes. Instead of posters of rock stars on the walls, however, the rooms of my patients are covered in photos of the President.

The owner of the first photo below commented, “My roommate saw I had two photos of Barack Obama, so she went and got an even bigger one. It’s beautiful, though, isn’t it?”
For more on how to create a psychologically healthy nursing home room, see my blog post, What I Want My Nursing Home Room to Look Like.

5 thoughts on “Nursing Homes are like College Dorms”

  1. Hi Eleanor,
    I love it, listening to the comments of residents coming out of the voting booths last November, many of the residents feel personally responsible for Obama being elected President. They are so proud.

    Watch for our May-June Newsletter and see what residents are saying about Obama’s first months in office.

  2. Hi Sue,

    Many residents I spoke to shortly after the election never thought they’d live to see a Black man elected President. One 97-year old woman told me, “You all mix it up now and it doesn’t matter, but back when I was a girl down South, we Black folks [she used the N word] had to get off the sidewalk if a White woman came walking by.” She’s tickled pink by election of Obama. When everyone is tickled pink, we’ll all just be pink folks.

    I always look forward to your newsletter and read it cover to cover.


  3. Well this is an interesting post. I find some nursing homes are too dorm like in their appearance, too institutional.

  4. I agree, Mary, the Obama photos give the rooms a sense of hope and connection to the world.

    ElderGuru, you should have seen my college dorm — the rooms were like prison cells before we spruced them up, each student in their own way. I always like to see residents expressing their individuality in their rooms, rather than leaving the generic decor.


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