Think normal. It is like a pebble in a pond. The pond is the institutional way, the institutional culture. The more we, of all professions, think normal life, the more we will move this huge institutional pendulum. Challenge yourself. Challenge your team. Talk about it. What do we have that is institutional and perpetuating the stigma that older people and many with dementia don’t know the difference? Do we promote fake life without meaning to? Fake towels to fold? Fake dogs and cats and babydolls? Do we want to promote fake or real? How did these things even get into these homes where real people live? Think real. How can we promote real life more than fake? Real kids, real children, real babies. I would spend what precious time I do have finding families and day cares and churches and schools that want to come bless the elders of their community. And reach out to everyone all the time. You personally cannot find all the babies because babies grow up fast. You can invite staff team members, those who live there, their families, volunteers, everyone to please reach out to their circles to invite the families, the kids, the little ones, the older ones too.
Older people need people of all ages. Who ever thought as we get older, we would only want to hang with all older people? Not me. How about you? Real people want more than just entertainment. Entertainment can be hallow. Talk about it. Real life with real people.
What are needs among your community that elders can help to relieve and speak into?
Community service projects to serve others, now that’s real. That’s normal. That is not fake or hallow. A group of people who lived in a nursing home would make crafts every week and then admitted, why are we just making crafts for ourselves that we don’t need? This group became the Project Club instead filling needs as they heard about them within their home and organization as well as for the wider community. What about cards for those who work there to thank them? Cards to the one in the hospital? Cards for new people moving in? A welcoming committee? Babysitting so parents can go Christmas shopping.
Join me in becoming a guardian of normal life. Don’t let the institutional culture pull you in. Be intentional to call it out. No one wants institutional. Everyone wants normal.
Star Valley Care Center in Wyoming focused on normal life, volunteering, contributing to the home and welcoming new people.
To learn more, see the WY Culture Change Nursing Home Video – Star Valley on YouTube: https://youtu.be/vSogys_6xkE?si=g0RhPmv2hkajMjmZ
Consider learning more by watching the other four homes who changed culture. And then please pass them on. Help change the world of living in LTC and guard normalcy!
Carmen Bowman, MHS, of Edu-Catering: Catering Education for Compliance and Culture Change is an activities/engagement and culture change coach. New or not-yet-qualified activity director consultation, personalized continuing education, meaningful engagement/real life consulting for the whole team. As a regulator turned educator, Carmen also provides “be your own surveyor” training. Training videos available at https://www.patreon.com/educatering. Contact: email@example.com,
303-981-7228 www.edu-catering.com Also, www.facebook.com/edu-catering.