Village of Erin Meadows: Instruments of the culture change journey

A couple of months ago, the Village of Erin Meadows dedicated a week to conversations about the concerted efforts being made there and within every Schlegel Village to change the culture of aging. During the past five years, each village has consciously moved towards greater resident involvement in the decisions that affect them, steering away from the institutional model of care in the elder care sector towards a social model of living.

There has been much progress, but regular conversations are necessary in order to keep the positive momentum going and remind people of the many efforts, both large and small, that are improving the lives of those who call a Schlegel Village home. That’s what this event was all about.

Desmond Granger works in Environmental Services at Erin Meadows and during his morning break on Day 1 of the Culture Change week he attended a session presented by resident David Kent about the personal transformation he’s experienced in the year he’s lived in the village.

David spoke of the depression he felt when he first moved in and the subsequent revitalization he felt when he was encouraged to follow his passion for education and begin presenting seminars. He eventually shared his story at an international conference and says that he feels his role in life now is to be an instrument of change in the elder care sector.

Desmond, in his own right, is an instrument of change, as all team members are in one way or another.

After David’s presentation, Desmond reflected on the changes he’s seen in the 14 years he’s been working at Erin Meadows.

“The way we deal with a lot of situations, well, we have improved immensely,” Desmond said, “especially in the past few years.”

“The culture is always that of the resident first, and we always had a good relationship with all of the residents.”

Desmond was off for two years at one point not long ago after surviving two serious medical challenges, which many people thought he’d never recover from. As he spoke that September day, a huge smile crossed his face as he discussed the impact he and his fellow team members can have on the lives of residents.

“I know I’m here for a reason,” Desmond said, noting that to hear the gratitude in David’s voice for the efforts team members make was quite gratifying.

“David will testify that there is nothing that he wants done that we won’t rush to do, within reason,” Desmond noted. “That’s the way it should be and that’s why he’s happy – he’s recognized that everybody does their best to make sure things go right.”

In the past, it wasn’t always so, and there was pride in Desmond’s eyes as he spoke of the way it is now.