It may be a little early, but since I’ve been telling OUR side of the story alone, I’d like to offer a platform for people out there to do the same. I *think* it’s possible to leave comments on my blog, but being new to blogging, it may be not be. That said, I’m inviting you to do so anyway. It can’t hurt to try.
While I owe this blog a recounting of the events of April 4 and 16th, I am happy and have just enough time to provide a high level overview of some of our successes. Dr. Bruce and I (bounded by a tonne of support from my colleagues from WOCRC) have been in contact with over 250 seniors and caregivers since March 2 in Fitzroy Harbour, and another 85 by proxy. We’ve hosted 4 formal forums and multiple smaller group meetings to determine what the priorities for seniors and caregiver may be in West Carleton. A number of wonderful things have happened.
1) Themes have emerged, and they likely wouldn’t surprise anyone but there have been surprises, for us. You see, working in the community, health and social services sector, you come to believe that what is done through programming is the right thing…it’s what everyone seems to want, or it’s what appears to be working, or our funders are happy. An example would be the oft mentioned ADP (Adult Day Program) on-site at the Western Ottawa CRC Kanata office (where clients with dementia are dropped off for the day and are provided with a stimulating environment and caregivers are provided a measure of time off – AKA repite). It’s a program that runs from 9 – 4 pm, Monday to Saturday, is always full and participants pretty much unanimously indicate satisfaction with the service. Now, the ADP evaluation that kicked off our work in West Carleton was strongly indicative that alterations could be made that would make the program better, but mostly only because continuous quality improvement is seen as a good thing. Ultimately though, that evaluation, as comprehensive as it was, made recommendations that would be challenging to implement in any new program devised for West Carleton, and likely would not prove successful in the same way. So guess what? If we ever thought a traditional ADP would be the program that comes out of all of this work, I believe we were mistaken. You have my promise that if ADP it is, fine. But…it won’t look a thing like it does in Kanata. These, my friends, are the results of deep listening to community and the act of co-imagining what could be. Oh, and the ADP example is only one. The picture of what is needed to support this population is coming together nicely.
2) Partnerships are emerging, and they are not the usual suspects coming to the table, which is what makes this experience so heartening. It’s the membership of local faith communities, community associations, private sector and educational institutions, if you can believe it. PSW’s that work in the community want to attend to participate in crafting local solutions. Everyone is interested in exploring the following questions:
- What can community members do best for themselves and each other?
- What can community members do best if they receive some support from organizations?
- What can organizations do best for communities that people can’t do for themselves?
With a view to answering, Dr. Barry Bruce and I are busy designing a process that we hope will result in dynamic solution focused dialogue on May 7. We absolutely cannot wait to start phase 2 of this project, and it begins with you.
If you are so inclined, please feel free to answer the following question – and post it directly on my blog, or send it confidentially to firstname.lastname@example.org. Although not rigorous, and not a stand-alone evaluation, this is part of a process called Most Significant Change, and it will help us to see the impact the project has had so far, intended or otherwise, on the people we are working with. The questions are fairly straightforward, and you need only choose one:
- What’s changed for you as a result of this project? Or;
- What’s the most significant change in the past few months as a result of this community project?
Again, your answers are welcome publicly or privately and I will respect your privacy if done so via email, but they are important – so please consider being a contributor.
Many thanks for this amazing experience, and see you on May 7!