Expanding Understandings: Meanings and Experiences of Wellness from the Perspectives of Residents Living in Long-Term Care (LTC) Homes
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Persons 65 years or older are the fastest growing demographic in Canada (Government of Canada, 2011) and the need for 24-hour care and LTC support will continue to rise. An association is typically drawn between death and dying and the movement into LTC homes. Leisure can alternatively be important for promoting “living” and supporting wellness in residents. The notion of “living” in LTC shifts emphasis away from illness and death to placing value on wellness. This participatory action research (PAR) study aims to understand wellness from residents’ perspectives and the role leisure plays in their wellness. PAR stakeholders (family/care partners, staff, and residents) collaboratively discuss how to best attain, interpret, and disseminate resident perspectives on wellness and required supports. The PAR process highlights the necessity for academics and practitioners to involve residents in decisions about their care experience. Guiding questions include: (1) What does wellness mean to residents living in LTC? (2) What does a ‘well’ LTC home look like to residents? (3) What is the nature of the relationship between leisure and wellness from a resident perspective? (4) How can those involved in LTC support resident wellness? From the perspectives of residents living in LTC homes, findings inform a resident wellness model and provide insights into how wellness and “well” LTC homes can be better supported. Thus, filling a gap in the literature and shifting focus to living ‘well’ in LTC.