Once you’re out of bed in the morning, what do you do? Actually, let’s fast forward a bit. Once you’ve washed, dressed and fed yourself, what do you do? (I’m making assumptions here, you may not be a ‘breakfast person’). What I’m driving at is once your basic physiological needs are met, you don’t consider the day ‘done’. Maslow’s hierarchy doesn’t stop at the bottom level.
Some Activity Leaders – aiming for those higher steps - complain that their colleagues are disproportionately focussed on basic needs. The thing is, an individual’s physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sleep – are essential. Maslow posited that these needs motivate people when they are unmet and that one must satisfy these lower level basic needs before progressing on to meet higher level growth needs. The pursuit of life enrichment would be very difficult with basic needs unmet.
That care home staff should be supporting people to meet their physiological needs is not under debate. The question is: having met these basic needs, what next?
Having been provided with safety and clothes and food and a seat in the lounge, why bother? See the higher levels of Maslow's Hierarchy for our answer: friendship, intimacy, affection and love; achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others, self-fulfilment and seeking personal growth. That's what.
When Activity Leaders complain about ‘task orientated’ colleagues, focused on basic needs, the complaint resides in a lack of vision beyond basic needs. The Moon we’re heading for is one where all staff in all care settings pursue all the levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Join me on the Ladder to the Moon!