Belonging is really the heart of it. Being known. By the force of her own personality and practiced wisdom, our friend Imy Higbie was known. How marvelous it would be if the elders living in institutions all around were truly known to us.
Maybe I’m too much of a lover not a fighter, but I don’t see all that much daylight between the abolitionist and the vanguard of the improvement work being done out there. At the end of the day (like now), they’re two sides of the same epistemological coin.
There’s some remarkable work being done with very challenged nursing homes (e.g., any work by Barbara Frank and Cathy Brady and David Farrell and countless others who I shouldn’t start naming because I will leave someone out!)
It’s part and parcel of what needs to happen if we’re to grow something new. The good people working in the broken system need some concrete help like yesterday, and the elders living there deserve all that we can do in the here and now.
It’s all about creating a present and future together. Ideally, it’s one where elders and those who care and support them can all thrive in households of some sort. How about a large scale jobs/construction program to replace every institutional nursing home, a visionary campaign pledge for the next presidential election?
Look around. We know how to do this and do it big, we just lack the will. Or do we? Elders living in nursing homes don’t have months or years to wait for us to get our act together.
Sorry. Our friend Barry Barkan said it best: “You have to forgive me because I have passion.”
That video is from the summer of 2005 at the St. Louis Accord, a meeting of culture change champions and QIOs like Imy’s friends at Quality Partners of Rhode Island.
2012 2011 is the year. Be known.