Spontaneity is a practice of the culture change movement. It predominately comes from the Eden Alternative®, an excellent model of changed culture that follows ten principles.
I highly recommend nursing and assisted living homes to become a registered Eden Alternative® home as it then propels your community into changing culture. It gives you guidance, support and the best thing, accountability.
Do you know the three plagues of institutionalization? Principle One states,
The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders.
Wow. Plague. Sounds sort of familiar… what’s another word for plague… sure enough pandemic. Look at the attention covid-19 got compared to the three plagues that have been around since the beginning of nursing home time.
It is our privilege to get to combat these plagues and the Eden Alternative® identifies variety and spontaneity as the antidote to plague of boredom.
Principle Five indicates,
We thrive when we have variety, spontaneity, and unexpected happenings in our lives. This is the antidote to boredom.
This is why many Eden registered homes end up with dogs, cats, birds, children and plants. They alone, without any prompting, create unexpected and unpredictable interactions and happenings.
There is a famous story from a Texas Eden registered home about the dog that lived there who chased the cat who lived there who ran into the fish tank. Whoa. Tank broke open. Water everywhere. Fish flopping. Isn’t it sad that some may think that is the very reason not to have animals whereas the culture change movement and Eden say those are the very reasons to have animals. Variety. Fun. Messes. Life is full of little messes. That’s life.
Live life, real life with those who actually do live there. Consider emphasizing life and living more than care, activity programming and group activities.
In the last article I share the example of the administrator who said he wanted to see a spontaneous event every day on each neighborhood! Whoa. That’s a lot of spontaneity. I think about this. It would be like going to bed excited – I would be – that tomorrow something none of us know about now will take place. What a great way to live. What a great gift to give institutionalized people. What a gift even to yourselves. Have fun and make it meaningful both. Try it. Make your own mandate for something spontaneous every day. Start with you. Start with your team. Bring it wider and wider. Start to invite and set it up on each neighborhood. Invite all – all those living there, all those working there, all those family members and friends coming in and out. It never fails, when you focus on something – say spontaneity – for a month or a year, it will happen!
A culture changed home took this and became famous for going to Starbucks. One CNA would say, “I’ll take some residents to Starbucks today if you stay back, and then why don’t you take some tomorrow?” The bus was made available to all, and spontaneity not only welcomed but expected. Since spontaneity is the antidote to boredom embrace it and become famous for it!
Carmen Bowman, MHS, of Edu-Catering: Catering Education for Compliance and Culture Change is an author, consultant, teacher and consultant in the areas of activities/engagement, quality of life and culture change. New or not-yet-qualified activity director consultation and psychosocial wellbeing consulting for the whole team. As a Regulator turned Educator, Carmen also provides compliance and “be your own surveyor” training. Training videos now available on https://www.patreon.com/educatering