The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Independent Living

Posted on 08/08/2022

Liv aims to elevate your life experience. Diversity and inclusion bring in great possibilities for personal growth and thedevelopment of passions and talents. We bring people together within LivGenerations and in the broader community. For us, embracing diversity is the best way to live an open-minded life, so we advocate inviting people who are not like ourselves into our inner circles and conversations.

To us, diversity and inclusion are core parts of any independent living community. We center our culture around connections. We aim for all our interactions to be about service, respect, and creating a friendly community. A little caring goes a long way.

What Diversity Means

By 2060, scientists estimate that 57% of seniors in America will be Caucasian, while 43% will be racial minorities. About one-third of older adults in California, New Mexico, and Hawaii spoke a language other than English at home in 2014. About one-fourth in Texas and New York were non-English-speaking at home.

Diversity means that we all live surrounded by people who are different from us. This includes race, gender, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, spoken language, disability, immigrant status, social class, age, and more. It means that our gatherings also bring together people of different thoughts, experiences, and opinions.

Intersectionality means that these variables (religion, language, gender identity, etc.) work together in different and sometimes surprising ways. We must keep our eyes open because some qualities may be used to justify discrimination against others. Intersectionality is the word we use to describe what happens when diverse factors work together to shape a person’s life.

What Inclusion Means

Inclusion steps up diversity. With inclusion, we work to accept the voices and perspectives of all the diverse individuals around us. People who face social rejection may find themselves in self-isolation, depression, and anxiety.

Inclusion means that we do not exclude specific groups from our culture and that a wide variety of individuals are welcome. Social power can be used to exclude certain groups. People can exercise this power through microaggressions and biases that show up in subtle and even unconscious ways.

Diversity and inclusion in independent living is not just recognizing differences but celebrating them. Respect is another essential part of the equation. People need to know they can be genuine in their own spaces, and that they feel welcomed and valued. Everyone must get the same opportunities as everyone else.

Why Diversity and Inclusion are Important in Senior Living

Diversity enhances everything around it, including personal development, problem-solving, and critical thinking. In senior living, having a vibrant and healthy community means having a community that embraces difference and includes everyone. We share, celebrate, and acknowledge the diversity that is at the core of our senior living communities.

Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. Diversity exists and we need inclusion. Imagery and public inclusion show that our idea of ourselves is diverse. We follow that with the creation of peer support networks, where people who share certain qualities can get together and back each other up.

After that, we show an intention of embracing diversity. We do this by actively pursuing diversity in many aspects of the community. This can mean diverse and multicultural programming, but it also means having some hard conversations. We must actively pursue diversity with community members and staff and in our ideas and understandings.

We all need to support diversity. By advocating for diverse individuals and patterns, we can improve the atmosphere for everyone. We also need to show solidarity and empathy. Even if we cannot walk in another person’s shoes, we can understand what it’s like to walk carrying a heavy burden. At LivGenerations, we will do what we do best and serve many unique individuals.

Why LivGenerations Celebrates Diversity and Inclusion

We liv in diversity and inclusion. Our independent living and assisted living communities are home to diverse people, and in the future will only become more diverse.

We meet barriers to inclusion on all levels. For example, racism can be interpersonal, showing up as prejudice and bias. It can be internalized and show up as self-hatred or Stockholm syndrome. Racism can also be institutionalized, where it exists (often hidden) in structures like education, healthcare, and housing. Here it can be difficult to find the racism, let alone dismantle it. The impact of all these different types of racism is segregation and separation.

We Are Diverse

Our communities are filled with people from all walks of life. We need to embrace our diverse languages, religions, beliefs, and celebrations. Through this we grow and evolve, becoming greater than we were before.

We are not all baby boomers. We are not all one color or creed. What we are is a living community that grows and changes together. We live an open-minded life by inviting in other people and other perspectives. Seniors are diverse and by necessity senior living is diverse.

While residents in senior housing are typically non-diverse (95 percent Caucasian), community leaders reported their staffs are more diverse, with 51% Caucasian, 25% African American, 17% Hispanic, and the remaining 7% as Asian and other races.

Every one of our communities has a diversity model. In order to be certain we are achieving our diversity and inclusion goals, the leadership team has to measure and record our progress, at all levels of the organization.

Part of the LivGenerations Culture

LivGenerations specifically celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion and implements it into every community as a part of our culture. And this can cause tough moments, as we will all run into ideas that challenge our long-held perceptions. We have to be able to respect, discuss, and change when needed. We have to use our diversity to become better: a better place to live, serve, and shape ourselves into the future. Diversity is not enough; we aim for true integration and inclusion.

What do we do? We elevate the stories of diverse older adults. We recognize the need to belong and partner with local culturally competent organizations to increase programming and services. In doing this we incorporate the skills and backgrounds of our residents. We liv(e) diversity.

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