It takes a community to support a life.

In 2023, our society has undergone significant changes, prompting us to reevaluate the care and support we provide for our elderly population. Gone are the days when our elders were cherished members of our communities. Grandparents used to reside in our homes, village elders were respected for their wisdom, and families were tightly knit and supportive. However, today we witness a different reality: children are sent to daycare, grandparents to nursing homes, and our connections with family and friends are maintained through platforms like Facebook and email. This shift has led to the erosion of community and the consequences of outsourcing our relationships.

As social beings, we have an innate need for social bonding and integration. This need goes beyond mere safety in numbers; it is a deep-rooted longing for connection and belonging. Wolves, surprisingly, demonstrate a similar inclination. They thrive in strong social systems and adhere to a well-defined pecking order. Isolation can be fatal for them, just as it can be for us.

The act of banishment from the human pack has long been regarded as one of the most severe forms of punishment. Prisons separate individuals from society, depriving them of their freedom and choices. This separation serves both as a means of protecting society and as a personal ordeal for the individual, akin to losing one’s life.

As we age, nature gradually denies us many of the freedoms we once took for granted. Our mobility diminishes, our strength wanes, and our memory becomes more unreliable. Ironically, this is precisely when we need more support from those around us. However, it is also the time when we are increasingly isolated from the human pack.

Do retirement communities and nursing homes truly provide a better lifestyle for us, or are they merely a means of removing the elderly from the fast lane of life and relegating them to a quieter existence?

The fast-paced nature of modern life has come at a cost. Outsourcing has become the norm, extending beyond call centers in distant lands. We outsource anything deemed non-essential, creating a convenient but disconnected life. Children shuttle from cradle to daycare to school to after-school care, while groceries are ordered online and delivered to our doorsteps. Our lawns are tended to by strangers, and financial transactions occur without ever physically handling money.

The conveniences we have gained have come at the expense of time. Everything is replaced, sanitized, and stripped of its essence in the name of convenience. Repairing is overshadowed by discarding, and our children grow up oblivious to the origins of basic necessities like milk and the process of food production.

The price we pay for this progress is the loss of community and the fulfillment it brings to our lives. Online platforms like Facebook, although touted as means of connection, fall short of fostering genuine community. They distance us from the source, much like technology and outsourcing. They may extend our reach, but they cannot replace the power of human touch.

Human touch has been long recognised as crucial for a baby’s emotional well-being, stimulating the production of essential cells and hormones. This need for nurturing persists throughout our lives, even as we replace it with possessions, careers, and personal goals. Nonetheless, we continue to seek safety within the confines of family, derive joy from sharing, and actively pursue love.

Yet, as we enter our later years, we often replace this nurturing need with nursing and confinement. We do so in an attempt to minimise risks, maintain calmness, and alleviate worries. In the process, we forget the fundamental need that cannot be denied: it takes a community to fulfill a life.

At Glenvale Villas, community is at the heart of everything we do. Our commitment goes beyond organising activities; it encompasses creating a sense of belonging for our residents. We understand that genuine connections cannot be replaced by mere entertainment. We strive to foster an environment where families can visit and stay over at any time, and where spontaneous friendships thrive among people who embrace life.

While we acknowledge that some individuals require greater care, our Continuous Care program at Glenvale Villas is designed to balance independence and support. It provides a safety net that offers reassurance without replacing the essence of living. Knowing that someone has your back grants you the freedom to live more fully.

Nursing homes may boast advanced technology and medical marvels, but in their pursuit of safety and protection, they often overlook the core aspects of our humanity: the fulfillment derived from community, family, and the need to matter. At Glenvale Villas, we do everything we can to ensure that our residents feel valued and appreciated.

Our elders have played a vital role in building our country, and it is only right that we honor them with the community and care they deserve.