Many existing happiness and wellbeing measurement frameworks tend to focus on indicators of quality of life that are beyond the control of the aged care provider.
The Happy Life Index focuses on the areas that you as a provider can have a direct impact on shaping the experiences for people in your homes, in partnership with the residents.
The Happy Life Index, as it stands today, provides operators with a baseline assessment of how they are performing from the perspective of residents, giving them greater insights on how they can improve, providing oversight over their service so there are no surprises.
With the Happy Life Index widget, providers can display this information on their website for relatives to see how the organisation is tracking based on the opinion of residents and potential new residents can also see this information.
Consumer perceptions of quality are increasingly varied and are informed by a range of quality of life and experiences that go beyond the clinical.
A number of inquiries and research reports have looked at what information would be useful and meaningful for people when choosing aged care services, and how that information is best communicated.
COTA’s 2018 report, ‘Measuring quality and consumer choice in aged care,’ found a strong preference for information about consumer experience and quality of life when comparing and selecting aged care providers.
During his evidence to the Royal Commission, Professor Paterson stated that people want to know that as well as being safe, they will enjoy a high quality of life when living and receiving care in residential aged care.
In this changing context, the way the aged care sector measures and delivers on quality is undergoing significant transformation.
It’s the little (big) things that matter when it comes to happiness and quality of life for aged care residents.
And if we look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs in relation to older people – it shows how if we get the “fundamentals of care” right then we can’t start to look at the more aspirational things like self-fulfilment.
In relation to meeting older people’s needs, The Happy Life Index as a measuring tool compliments the theory behind Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943).
Maslow interpreted different needs of people from the basic needs to older people’s needs.
It contains basic needs: physiological needs, safety and security; psychological needs: love and belonging; self-fulfillment: self-esteem, self-actualisation.
Once the lower level of needs is fulfilled, the willingness of needs will go up to the next level.
If a resident lacks some needs which were used to be fulfilled, then the resident would rather prior refill the needs which he or she is short of than any other new needs.
However, the needs such as necessities of life, nursing care are more or less obligatory in older people‘s later life despite the needs of older people could be diverse depending on their social environment, life course.
Moreover, older people are more focused on basic needs, and psychological needs are more advanced, and self-fulfillment needs are least followed.
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it showed that one level will not be sought until the lower level is covered.
However, older people’s willingness to love and belong are intense, and the basic needs do not need to be fulfilled in order to go up into the psychological needs.
For example, older people have a strong will and needs of family (love and belonging), even though their needs of health (safety and security) might not be fulfilled.
Thus, to adjust the pattern, we must realise that older people always desire to be loved and belong no matter if their basic needs are fulfilled or not.
The Happy Life Index looks at seven standards that have a direct impact on quality of life, which are the following: