From our CEO: Treasure the Relational Space
I heard a discussion on the radio yesterday about a growing awkwardness on calls between people in Melbourne and people in other places where you can move around more freely. Our protracted lock-down is becoming socially difficult. People in Melbourne have got nothing to talk about, they commented. They aren’t doing anything. Well it’s true we aren’t out night-clubbing or holidaying but if you are working in or with aged care, you are anything but twiddling your thumbs.
I am not sure if you need me to say it again. I will, in case you missed it previously. Yes, we are being required to dig deep. The holes in our relationships and what we took for granted have been exposed. If you are accessing support services or working with older people, the thinness of our system of care is out in the light. Not because there aren’t thousands of people who deeply care but rather because there was no slack in the system and no depth, in some places, to the way people have been supported in their wholeness, rather than through the lens of their disabilities or functional challenges.
We all have to work at two levels. Many of us are doing all we can to be a force for good in the systemic changes that are needed. Others continue in the valuable day to day work alongside older people. Meanwhile we all still need to act at the level of our own life to keep re-filling that well. Keeping showing up for yourself, as the saying goes. Take a pause. Take a breath. Connect with people who love you, perhaps pray or meditate. Then keep on going back to offer your love and support to those who are depending on you to show up, and who give you so much in return.
We made a submission recently on “The Reimagined PCW“. One of our primary arguments is that we need to train people to know themselves, and what it means to age with heart, before they are trained in anything else. Then add the other essential lessons. Treasure the relational space between each staff member and each older person. I don’t need to tell you how serious this has become during COVID.
Finally, we had an amazing time with everyone who attended our National Forum at the beginning of September. It was a truly inspiring space. We are greatly encouraged by what is possible on Zoom – do keep an eye out for future offerings that include chances to connect.
The issue also includes:
- Guest Article:Contemporary discourses of old age – what is missing? by Dr Outi Jolanki and Dr Jenni Spännäri
- The Map of Meaning and Ageing: a self-reflection guide
- Learn, Play and Advocate: Dementia
Read the full issue here.