Fulfilling Basic Needs

Next time you get a chance, ask a Senior about his or her life!

According to Anthony Robbins, a life coach, all of us have 6 basic human needs:

  1. Certainty: to be comfortable and have some level of consistency.
  2. Uncertainty: we need variety and change to feel alive.
  3. Significance: the need to feel unique, special, and important.
  4. Love and connection: we need to give and receive affection and support from others.
  5. Growth: to become more.
  6. Contribution: to give beyond ourselves.


As we grow older, we still need certainty—we want to have predictability and to make our own decisions. We need uncertainty—we need spontaneous activities and things to do that keep our interest. We need significance—to be treated with respect and dignity. We need love and connection—we need time with our families and friends who love and care about us. We also need growth and contribution. Longfellow observed: “Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear.”  This reminds me of John Wooden, the famous UCLA basketball coach, who said: “Nowadays my bad knees and bad hips make it difficult to walk very far or to stand for very long…even at 94, I want to be the best I can be, and hard work is the only way to make this happen.”

When I was a nursing home administrator, I loved to talk with the residents about their lives. One resident’s father had been a Confederate soldier in the Civil War. Another had come with his family from Russia and entered the United States through Ellis Island. Later, they homesteaded 160 acres in American Falls. Next time you are with a Senior, take the time to ask him or her about their life. It will show them respect, that you care, and it will give them the opportunity to make a contribution to your life.

Wishing you and your family a Christmas Season filled with peace, love, and joy.

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all of Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.

December 2020