Senior Moments from H.O.M.E.

How do housing conditions impact your well-being?

Posted by Tricia Mullin on Apr 2, 2018 9:40:17 AM

What are you doing for self-care? Does this question make you squirm, make your palms sweat or cause your mind to go blank, wondering how to answer? 

There are three April holidays or observances that are related to self-care: National Humor Month, Stress Awareness Month and Physical Wellness Month.

Did you know there are fifty plus national holidays/observances that are honored in April? Who knew there are so many! I didn’t. I do need to confess, though, that my eye was drawn to April being National Licorice Month. I will look into that later as part of my self-care. 

Andre_repairsWith all this self-care awareness in April, do you know how housing conditions impact your well-being?

We here at H.O.M.E. had the pleasure of speaking with Gene Brown from Community Housing Solutions in North Carolina last week. Gene and his colleagues are doing work similar to H.O.M.E.'s Upkeep & Repair program to help older adults age in community.

He describes repair programs like ours as helping people stay "warmer, dryer, and safer" in their own homes.

I would like to take this a step further and say that having a “warmer, dryer, and safer” place to live is a foundation necessary for humor, reduced stress and improved physical wellness to be realized and ultimately for self-care to flourish.

What is self-care?

The University of Buffalo’s School of Social Work describes self-care as not only an action but also a state of mind that is achieved through enhanced self-awareness (i.e. listening to or paying attention to how you are responding to situations), self-regulation (i.e. how you react) and self-efficacy (i.e. belief or confidence in yourself.)

Unfortunately, self-care is not on the agenda or radar of those who do not have stable housing. Survival is.

How do housing conditions impact your well-being?

jack_eunice_repair_client_tuskegeeI felt a real kinship to Community Housing Solutions' program as it reflected so much of what H.O.M.E. is trying to foster and accomplish through its affordable Intergenerational Housing and Upkeep & Repair programs for seniors.

That is, that a sound body, mind, and spirit stems from a sound home.  

Before one can answer the question of what self-care one is doing, one needs to feel that they live in an environment or neighborhood that can lend itself to self-care. One can only do these things if they have the space, literally and figuratively, to do so.

Before you ask someone or tell someone that they should be taking care of themselves, consider their living situation. Next ask yourself if there is an opportunity for you to help and then forward them H.O.M.E.’s information.

You can help low-income older adults live in stable, safe housing with a donation to H.O.M.E. today. 

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Let me leave you with these findings…

  • The CDC classifies insufficient sleep as a public health epidemic.
  • Laughter strengthens the immune system, boosts energy and reduces pain. Adults have to catch up to children who laugh 300 times/day compared with 15 times/day for adults.
  • To achieve healthy cortisol levels (connected to stress and weight gain among other things), it is recommended to be exposed to over 30% of green space.

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Topics: intergenerational housing, Upkeep and Repair, affordable housing