Friday, July 2, 2010

Geriatric Management Consulting #6

Interpretation of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Very often holistic can seem too New Agey, too soft as opposed to hard science.

To quote again from Michael Gerber’s The E Myth Revisited:

The greatest businesspeople (read: caregivers) I’ve met are determined to get it right no matter what the cost. And by getting it right, I’m not just talking about the business.

I mean that there is something uplifting, some vision, some higher end in sight that “getting it right” would serve. An ethical certainty, a moral principle…the continuous evolution…of our humanness… (pages xiii-xv)

Decades ago the psychologist Abraham Maslow posited a hierarchy of needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization. If we are looking at a person holistically, then we must take into account these levels of needs. If we are looking at a person in the context of a relationship network, each individual in that network has these levels of needs. Most likely he or she will be turning to others in the network to satisfy some of these needs.

Illness, aging and dying challenge us on every level of need. It doesn’t matter whether we are the person experiencing the crisis in our own body or the people in relationship to us. By the way, I think we all experience the other person’s illness in our own bodies at some level. For example, when one spouse has Parkinson’s, it resonates in the other. How not, if they have shared bodies and a bed for decades?

Too often the emphasis is on the physiological (diagnosis, treatment, transportation, finances, etc.). We have other needs to satisfy: safety, social interaction, esteem and self-actualization. Living with illness, aging, dying as caregiver, client or both at the same time (!) provides opportunities for “the continuous evolution…of our humanness…”

1 comment:

Cameron VSJ said...


I have a quick question for you regarding your blog, but I couldn't find your contact information. Do you think you could send me an email whenever you get a chance?