What “home” means to the individual, how we decorate our living environment with objects ( our couch choice , mask collection, frilly curtains that become an extension of ourselves, our keen awareness of our environment, the way in which we become physically attuned to it and the sensory stimulation that we receive from it are all kept to our ability to endow our physical environment with feelings of attachment and significance
When looking at the meaning of home, it’s important to know that geriatric housing research has found three basic functions of the home environment for the individual: 1) maintenance 2) stimulation and 3) support. Maintenance refers to the process of executing our daily lives in the home environment. Ask yourself, how much attention do you pay each day to activities such as going to the bathroom, bathing, making your breakfast or brushing your teeth? The answer is probably “not much” because we do these activities on autopilot; and because we do them on autopilot we are free to pursue other challenges and opportunities during the day
But what about vacations and living out of a suitcase. Have you ever returned home and thought with some relief – now I know where everything is? Then think of an older person moving to another home like a higher level of care. They are not on vacation and usually cannot return home. So moving an elder means that maintenance, stimulation and support have to be rebuilt and retooling a new version of auto pilot while you retain those memories and history in what you choose to move.