What do you think makes life important? This question can have numerous different answers depending on your point of view. There are basic needs each of us require, but most people probably never think about these needs until they are not fulfilled.

One of the better-known, psychological theories of motivation was created by Abraham Maslow. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there are five stages to self-fulfillment.  Some of these needs are more primitive (e.g. shelter, food) than others (e.g. social, ego). This is most easily explained as stages on a pyramid, with the most basic needs at the bottom. Higher needs on the pyramid only come into focus when the more basic needs have been met.

Maslow referred to the lower four levels as “deficiency needs” because if they are not met we become anxious or distressed. But when they are fulfilled, we do not notice and move up to the next level. This means the fundamental human needs to ensure basic happiness are the bottom four levels of the pyramid. The top level is the need for self-actualization and reaching your full potential. While this is important, the majority of people are unable to attain this level because progress up the levels is often disrupted by failures to satisfy lower needs. For example, you are less likely to be concerned with what others think of your flashy car if you just lost your job and no longer have income to feed and shelter yourself.

Incapacitated adults often have trouble sustaining the pivotal levels of Safety and Security. If you suddenly find yourself forgetting when or how to pay your bills or not remembering how to safely operate appliances, you would become distressed. It is hard to imagine the fear you would feel when your sense of safety is gone and you are unable to fix the problem yourself. I would imagine you might look for outside resources to help you keep your sense of stability.

These lapses in memory can be caused by illness, aging or injury; meaning all of us are vulnerable to finding ourselves in this situation. Our compassionate staff and volunteers here at VACA strive to bring back the basic needs of safety and security to the protected persons we serve. We also like to go the extra step and “level up” by adding caring, love and belonging to the  needs of our clients. Our objective is to ensure that adults in our community that can no longer accomplish the deficiency goals on their own can still have a joyful existence, free from worries about their own basic needs.