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Improved AODA Training for Long-Term Care Staff

In a previous article, we outlined the need for more accessible community housing for people with a variety of disabilities. Currently, the lack of appropriate housing within communities means that some young people with disabilities live in nursing homes. Future AODA standards in housing may one day mandate better community housing supports. However, until these supports exist, nursing home staff should know how to best meet the needs of residents with disabilities. In addition, improved AODA training for long-term care staff would help them create a more welcoming environment for retired residents with disabilities.

Improved AODA Training for Long-Term Care Staff

While long-term care homes offer support with physical tasks and leisure programming, these supports are geared toward older adults. The needs of most nursing-home residents differ widely from the supports working-aged people with disabilities need. For instance, nursing-home staff have experience supporting people with conditions they gain later in life, such as age-related memory loss. In contrast, younger residents may have intellectual or other disabilities, and staff may have little knowledge about how these residents’ needs differ. Alternatively, older and younger residents may have similar physical disabilities, or use the same assistive devices. However, the lifestyles of retired residents may differ widely from those of residents who hope to start or continue careers.

Improved AODA training could help staff recognize that residents with different disabilities may need distinct forms of support. Likewise, training could help staff learn to respect the pace of a working person’s lifestyle when providing support. For instance, support for someone’s daily living needs could be scheduled around the demands of remote work, such as meetings or deadlines.

Using AODA Training to Support Seniors with Disabilities

In short, detailed training about the capabilities of people with disabilities could allow staff to better support working-aged residents with disabilities. Furthermore, the knowledge they gain could also help staff better support retirement-aged residents who have recently gained disabilities. These residents may have little knowledge about what life with their new disabilities might be like. They may believe that disability means a lower quality of life. However, staff with thorough AODA training could show these residents that they can continue to live full lives with their new disabilities.

For instance, well-trained staff will have experience interacting with people who have disabilities. Staff may have met guest speakers with disabilities who lead full and active lives. As a result, staff could help residents with new disabilities recognize that they can also have a high quality of life as seniors with disabilities. For example, staff could help a resident find accessible ways to practice old hobbies, or discover new hobbies. In-depth knowledge about disability would allow long-term care staff to more fully support all the residents in their care.