I recently returned from jointly representing and participating at the Pioneer Network Conference with Peter Illig and Debbie Hommel of NCCAP. The Pioneer Network is the national leader of the culture change movement, helping care providers to transition away from a medical, institutional model of elder care to one that is life affirming, satisfying, humane, and meaningful. Together we have worked closely with the Pioneer Network for many years in providing social engagement tools and resources that advocate for culture change. The conference was held in beautiful downtown Denver, Colorado where close to 600 professionals joined in engaging and creating opportunities for change. This conference was extra special because it was the first one to be held in person since 2019. The pandemic has truly changed how we operate but one thing has remained unchanged, the need for networking and engaging with others. NAAP and NCCAP had the honor and pleasure to be a part of the Experience Center. The Experience Center was a dedicated space for interaction and conversations about the activity profession and our role in the social model of care. We were able to enrich a few attendees lives with memberships to NAAP, Exam prep books, and one lucky winner received the MEPAP Part 1 APC course!
We met so many amazing individuals who have true compassion for supporting elders in their journey into community living. Dr. Bill Thomas of the Eden Alternative reminded us how vital the domains of wellness are when providing engagement programs and services to the people we serve. The domains of wellness include identity, growth, autonomy, security, connectedness, meaning, and joy. This philosophy of care focuses on eliminating loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. An Activity Professional’s responsibility is to do just that, focus on the individual needs and provide quality of life to our elders.
At the Experience Center we had individuals write down what quality of life means to them personally. Here are just a few responses we received:
- Growing old as healthy, happy, and humanly possible.
- Freedom of choice with lifestyle and activity.
- The importance of well-being and mental health.
- My autonomy respected.
- Being able to live my true self while aging with dignity.
- Making my own choices.
- Continuing to live my truth and enjoy all the things that make me happy
I encourage you to evaluate the programs and services you provide and determine whether you are including these statements into them. I also encourage you to think about what quality of life means to you. The last impression from this event that I wanted to share was learning about The Platinum Rule, which is “Do unto others as ‘they’d’ like done unto them.” NAAP and NCCAP will continue to work together in meeting the professional standards for education and certification.
Alisa Tagg NAAP Association Director