Twenty-eight Rand Aid employees attended a three-day Eden Associate Training Workshop from 29 to 31 March, joining other Rand Aid staff members as Eden Associates.
The employees – from Ron Smith Care Centre (RSCC), Thembalami Care Centre, Thornhill Manor and Inyoni Creek – thoroughly enjoyed the training that was facilitated by Rayne Stroebel, Lisl Foss from Eden Alternative SA and Charlene van Wyk from Eden Alternative Mauritius.
Before relocating to Mauritius in 2013, Charlene headed up the Occupational Therapy Department at Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge and RSCC for almost three years. She started Rand Aid on its Eden Alternative journey in 2012, leading to RSCC becoming the second organisation in Africa to achieve Eden Registry membership in 2016. In 2020, RSCC achieved Milestone Two, becoming the first organisation in Africa to do so.
The Eden philosophy embraces people-centred nurturing and moves radically away from the traditional clinical approach to both the environment and the care given to residents.
“Our employees came away from the Eden Associate Training Workshop enlightened, inspired and empowered to make positive changes in both their work and home lives. They learnt that we are all interconnected and gained insight into how we connect with other people,” says Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s manager of recreational programmes.
One staff member said she wished that training in the Eden Alternative could be integrated into the nursing college curriculum as it provides broader insight into how to care for the elderly. You feel more connected with the elderly as you put yourself in their shoes and can better understand how they feel. You then know how to help and support them better, she said.
Another employee said that many people think that getting old means getting dumped in an institution and being left to die. This is not the case. She enjoyed the Eden Alternative training as it confirmed for her that Elders can still be themselves, enjoy themselves and do the things they like to do, and they can still grow. “She learnt that growth doesn’t end until the last day of your life,” says Debbie.