I attended the annual Pioneer Network conference on culture change a few weeks ago. I feel so inspired!

They have a fantastic opening plenary session about the importance of valuing people—have you ever been? It’s so motivational, and I’ve come back wondering how we can incorporate some of that inspiration where I work. A number of us were discussing why we felt so elated after having sat and listened to speaker after speaker for an hour and a half. We decided one thing Pioneer does incredibly well is tell stories.

Valuing people
A few years ago the opening session was based around their 12 “values and principles.” Pioneer works to improve the quality of nursing home care. But try applying these to your workplace, family, or social network.
· Know each person
· Each person can and does make a difference
· Relationship is the fundamental building block of a transformed culture
· Respond to spirit, as well as mind and body
· Risk taking is a normal part of life
· Put person before task
· All elders are entitled to self-determination wherever they live
· Community is the antidote to institutionalization
· Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
· Promote the growth and development of all
· Shape and use the potential of the environment in all its aspects: physical, organizational, psycho/social/spiritual
· Practice self-examination, searching for new creativity and opportunities for doing better
· Recognize that culture change and transformation are not destinations but a journey, always a work in progress

Inspirational videos
They presented a story for each one. Here’s the video they shared for “each person can and does make a difference.” For “risk taking is a normal part of life,” they showed one about sledding. Then many of us working in and around nursing homes are familiar with the amazing story of Henry coming alive when he listens to music, but it’s always worth another viewing. And in case one video about the power of iPods wasn’t convincing, they showed another.

Educational videos
And if you care for someone with dementia, go to YouTube and looking for videos by Teepa Snow. She’s a gifted speaker on the subject. Here are two examples: one on bathing and one on the importance of activities.

Not aging but human rights
The Pioneer Network’s twelve principles are certainly not just  for those living in nursing homes. They’re for us all. And if we don’t live in an environment that adheres to them, it’s not an aging issue. It’s a human rights issue.

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