Prof. Ernst Gehmacher was the opening keynote speaker at the EHASA conference in Stockholm. ChangingAging readers know about social capital from an earlier entry (Monkhouse Monday March 15th, 2009).
Here are Prof. Gehmacher’s latest insights:
Social capital, that is secure and close social ties in early life, is predictive of good health in later life. Obese children and children in psychiatric care have been found to have only minimal social ties, their health problems are predictive of huge costs to the healthcare system within the next three decades.
Caring relationships as found in the Eden-Alternative implementation pilot project in Vienna (seen blog entry March 15th, 2009) indicate that staff morale is very high and that the close relationships developed are the reason for that.
Data from this study were fed into a sustainability database eliciting data regarding the belief behavior gap. Beliefs that the environment and our planet should be saved by changing our lifestyle are widely spread – behavior, however, does not often follow suit.
Carers within the Eden philosophy showed a significantly lower belief behavior gap. Professor Gehmacher boldly concludes that reciprocal caring relationships are a strong moral force and the key to saving our planet.
Care work takes in this light takes on a very different meaning – from female, hidden, low paid work to a shining example of transformative powers of human caring relationships.
Caring communities, so the title of the immediate past international Eden conference takes on a truly global dimension.