If it's good enough for an elephant ...

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Don't you wish you were an elephant—in Southeast Asia?

A story about a new nursing home for aging elephants in Lampang province in Thailand this week made me a little envious of these 5,000-pound creatures.

The facility (which gives the term “nursing home” new meaning) is planning to house and protect older elephants, which formerly worked as beasts of burden in the forestry industry. The Forest Industry Organization, which also runs the Elephant Hospital in the province, will operate the facility, known as the Pang-La Nursing Home for Aged Elephants.

While the concept is lovely, what got me is the luxury. Situated on 153 hectares (or about 400 acres)? A small river in which to bathe? Don't get me wrong. I love the idea of the Eden Alternative, with its emphasis on bringing the natural world in, but you really can't beat actually residing in nature.

If this is a nursing home, admit me!

But seriously, this story just reminds me once again that if our precious animals receive special treatment, certainly our elders are also entitled to it—wherever in the world they live.

I joke about nature. While the wild might not be the ideal setting for a frail senior, I can think of a comparable space for older adults. How about a place where people feel free, comfortable and able to roam—and taken care of at the same time?

That sounds exactly like the mission of many nursing homes today. How lucky those elephants are to benefit from what our seniors crave: resident-centered care.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.