[Editor’s Note: Dr. Thomas has invited Eden Alternative’s Europe Coordinator Christa Monkhouse to guest-post on a weekly basis from across the Big Pond. Christa is personally responsible for introducing the Eden Alternative to Europe, first in the UK, then Denmark and soon in Sweden, Finland and other European nations. Stay-tuned for regular updates on ‘Monkhouse Mondays’.]
Eden Europe has now about 1000 associates. We just started a networking platform on www.edenalt.ning.com (if you are an Eden associate you are welcome to join, posts are in English and German) and I have been busy translating posts and video messages by Dr. Thomas into German, as some of his messages and ideas are just breathtakingly new. This inspires fresh thinking on our side and I would like to share with you some of the learning which has taken place:
Bill’s term “mitigated aging“ has brought a high sensitivity to language use, after all, we act what we think. Therefore use of language is an indicator of culture change. I would like to give an example:
Paraprofessional: we all know that this term describes “untrained“ or little trained care workers (para means “beside, alongside, assistant, subsidiary, but also ‘abnormal or incorrect’“ (source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com)
This is how we call the most important carers, even scholarly papers do so. In an Eden pilot home we have trained “Life Assistants“, similar to the Shabaz in the Green-House. These are multitaskers and truly complementary to nurses, therapists and physicians. They are the “worldmakers“ (B. Thomas), there to “protect, sustain and nurture“. Why not make this a new, much needed profession with deserved importance, prestige and ongoing education? The European Care License (http://www.scie.org.uk/networks/ecl.asp) is a small beginning. Our Life assistant training was based on it and trains them in all aspects of quality of life.
Two days ago, the Swiss Health Obersvatory (http://www.obsan.admin.ch) published a report, saying that care costs will increase by over 100% in the next 30 years, simply because the numbers of older persons who need care will increase. What they do not mention is that the supply of carers will decrease (future carers are already born today). High time to attract them into a profession, not a “paraprofession“.
— Christa Monkhouse