I recently attended an Eden Workshop (Eden Associate Training) in my capacity as the family member of an elder in care and found the experience deeply encouraging and inspiring, even though it was aimed primarily at professionals.
The workshop was rich with info which was cleverly delivered in exercises, practical examples and participative group sharing – all rooted in the deep intention to radically change the way we see and approach caring for our elders.
Thank you Magda and Yolande for your authentic and engaging facilitation over an intense 3 days.
Your partnering was respectful, thoughtful and light – I appreciated the way you each brought your humour to a challenging subject. It was an impeccable modelling of the principles and ethos of the Eden Alternative.
The paradigm shift in elder care is one I’ve been longing to see but had no words for.
My mother has dementia and I knew her before the disease transformed her into the eccentric, bewildering, dependant child/adult she is now. Her diagnosis and her subsequent transition into care has been the most profoundly difficult thing
I have ever had to do. It continues to be that. It isn’t a responsibility anyone can be prepared for and not one I would wish on anyone.
There is no training for shifting a parent from home to ‘institutional home’. There is no preparation for BEING shifted from home into care.
Everything changes… from the first basic shock of hearing the word ‘dementia’ (in our case), through understanding what that means, managing the assessment, admission and finally the transition from home into a room – usually shared with a stranger.
Then there’s trying to adapt to the new, constantly changing, normal – as if it is.
Besides the trauma of my mother’s mental untethering – separating her from all that’s safe and familiar and leaving her in the new noise of this ‘home’, with those shiny floors, bright lights, strange smells and bustling strangers has been a deep and solitary suffering.
It can be an intimidating environment, where management, staff, family and ‘patients’ are firmly held in a hierarchy of roles designed more for the system than the people in it.
Difficult as a family member to know how to ‘be’ in it – how to trust it , engage, participate, challenge or question. And challenging for care teams too, I now understand.
I found it very encouraging to have this acknowledged with clear and practical alternatives being workshopped by participants.
I think it would be very helpful to have a separate workshop aimed specifically at the family members. They have different questions, experience, concerns and focus. There could then be joint sessions dealing with overlapping principles. Carers and family could offer each other very interesting and valuable insights.