Happy July! I am writing this on the 4th after leaving our festive lunch table--brats, red, white and blue decor and desserts topped off with singing patriotic songs to live violin, harmonica, guitar and banjo accompaniment! Singing, smiles, laughs and jokes made it memorable! Tonight we will see who is awake after dark to watch a few fireworks from the porch.
Some of you will be happy to know that due to a donation from the beloved Barnes family, we have a new pool liner and we are filling the pool now!
A few weeks back, Paulal Reif (Co-founder of Hope & A Future) and I met in Portland Oregon to speak at the Global Generations United Conference. People from 30 countries explored a wide array of topics all focused on bringing the generations together. I will share a little about two of the presentations I particularly enjoyed. Chip Conley, author and strategic adviser, was one of the keynote speakers. He talked about being 52 and thinking about retiring when he was approached by a group of young people with a business idea they had already developed. Their idea was one he would never have come up with because he was not as tech savvy as the young people approaching him. Yet, they needed his business savvy to bring their business to the next level. He enjoyed both their enthusiasm and their creative idea. Together, they made Airbnb the successful business it is today! This is a beautiful example of intergenerational benefit! People from 60 minutes also presented. They shared a moving documentary (yet to be released) exploring how the opioid crisis is affecting extended families. They put a spotlight on the challenges of raising grandchildren on a fixed income and being the child of an addicted parent raised by grandparents. The children interviewed were grateful to feel safe, have regular meals and someone paying attention to them--everyday. After viewing the film, there was a panel including grandparents raising grandchildren, a young woman raised by grandparents and intergenerational experts. The love and needs expressed were moving. There is a program for grandfamily housing. This housing will be especially helpful if programs are put in place for neighbors and volunteers to coordinate helpful efforts. Paula and I were invited to talk about our pioneering TIIN (Therapeutic Interactive Intergenerational Neighborhood) model. The TIIN model utilizes leadership staff living in the neighborhood. We believe there is a depth of relationship that only develops when life is genuinely shared--everyday. With lifestyle work, care providers move beyond programs and into an intentional shared lifestyle. This moves intentional neighboring to a new level. There is also more opportunity to make sure that community members are not left to feel invisible. Paula and I were excited to see that around the nation, interest in our model already exists! Many people have joined us in our anticipation to overcome obstacles and see the first complete model built! There are groups hoping to replicate the TIIN--after we get the first complete Model up and running in Madison! (Pictures from Global Generations United Conference below.)
Our staff, residents, volunteers and visitors have gathered around fun events, activities and the work of life which has led to the formation of friendships and a network of support. These networks provide the purpose and belonging needed for all age groups to flourish. Structures for problem solving and organizing needed support and education add to the tools available for people to develop the resilience needed to move forward in life. This is the purpose of the TIIN model and we believe it is a model that can support many vulnerable people as well as decrease the growing problem of anxiety and depression experienced by people from all age groups in our country. Our model has always included program and lifestyle work. We believe that when people are suffering, lifestyle work is the gold standard. When a neighborhood wraps itself around the intention of watching out for each other in an intentional and structured way, everyone can enjoy a greater sense of safety and belonging. With lifestyle work, diversity melts into inclusion. Diversity of talents and creative thinking are enjoyed. Friendship and flourishing throughout the lifespan become the norm.
One of our household members returned this month after a month of rehab following surgery. She returned with healing in process but also with the side effects of institutionalization. She thought of herself as sick, she was worried about becoming more sick and had developed symptoms of learned helplessness. The picture in long term care is often one of too much to do in the time allowed for the staff available. Because it is faster to do things for people, tasks like dressing are often done for people rather they need the help or not. The person being helped begins to believe they need more help. As they do less and less for themselves, they begin to look at people around them who need even more help and worry that they will be like them soon. Depression follows and deterioration of health and abilities happens at an accelerated rate. Intervention: Welcome her home, start encouraging her to do more and create meaningful fun! I am happy to report that after being back at Hope & A Future for less than two weeks she is again having fun and getting stronger! Today during lunch, she raised her coffee mug to give independence day cheers to her friends as they sang about our countries independence. Together we can enjoy inclusive Generations of Purpose! Someday, I hope we will celebrate inter-dependence day! Because we are in this together!
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Written by members of the Hope & a Future community including residents, volunteers, and staff.