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I am driven to ensure people thrive as they age

Tetyana Shippee knows senior living firsthand: while still a student, she lived for two years in a retirement home. There, she learned that residents want true human relationships, and not to be identified by their medical condition.

Tetyana Shippee
“Residents don’t want to be thought of as patients. They crave authentic relationships, and they want to know that they still matter and that there is still something for them to do.” Tetyana Shippee, Professor Click to tweet

“We have data on quality-of-care metrics,” she says. “But we don’t have data on quality of life. We need to think about how to incorporate quality-of-life metrics into our [nursing home] payment policies.”

Shippee is collecting data that will allow state agencies to compare and rate institutions in terms of quality of life as well as quality of care.

Quality living means meeting the needs of people from various races, ethnicities, and linguistic backgrounds. Shippee is committed to helping Minnesota agencies reduce disparities and improve life for all vulnerable older adults—especially people of color—regardless of the setting.

Living the life: how Tetyana Shippee found inspiration

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Growing inequity in quality of living

With more minority retirees going into nursing homes, these residences’ structures and practices must be modified to provide a high quality of life for minority, as well as white, residents.

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What does ‘quality of life’ mean? That depends.

For example, Asian residents are often disappointed in the quality of their staple food—rice—and white residents prefer private rooms while Hmong residents favor having roommates from the same culture, Shippee has learned.

“The end goal is systemwide recognition of the importance of quality of life and systemwide efforts to ensure it.” Tetyana Shippee, Professor Click to tweet