PositiveCulture.org has previously worked with companies operating in the health and social care field, not only in employee engagement but including examining ways to improve the engagement of elderly clients with the support services on offer. We are therefore always interested in seeing the work of others who apply the lessons of positive psychology in the support of elderly people in receipt of care or support. The fact that long-term engagement and deep satisfaction can be enjoyed in later life is so often ignored in care environments, where the focus is to demonstrate the absence of suffering and the occasional introduction of short-term enjoyment through activities.

We were delighted then to discover this report (click here) from the Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, which provides an extremely detailed and imaginative study of various aspects of designing well-being in elderly care homes. The report is broken down into three parts, the fourth of which is entitled "Looking at Design: Confronting Expectations".

It is precisely the job of leaders in the care sector to "confront expectations".  For too long, expectations have been low amongst all parties, sadly including the recipients of the service themselves.

The authors of this part of the report looking at applying the principles of positive psychology to the design of care homes are playing their role in challenging expectations. We agree that the application of these principles can indeed improve the working experience of staff as well is making a huge difference to the well-being of residents. Many of the suggestions made in the report will not be new to progressive minded leaders in the care sector, but this report does draw all the ideas together well and give them a scientific grounding by referring to various studies and experiments which add rigour to anecdotal or common-sense conclusions.

At over 240 pages long, the report is not light reading. However, we feel the findings will be of interest to anyone looking at applying positive psychology in a care environment.