Eldercare Course – Year Three Graduates

This is the third year that Camphill Ghent has offered an orientation course in eldercare. The students who completed the training program were required to present projects. These presentations expressed that each of the students was aware that important values are attempting to be put into practice at Camphill Ghent that are part of the wider pioneering effort to develop holistic eldercare in the United States. Camphill Ghent is at the cutting edge of this effort. What we do matters, not only because the quality care of our residents is essential, but also because we are setting an important example for others in the field. After hearing the presentations last week and working with the students during the year, I am full of hope that the mission and values of Camphill Ghent are beginning to permeate our organization at all levels.

It is so important for the mission and values of Camphill Ghent that our home health aides and other staff members who wish to can participate voluntarily in the eldercare course because this is one of the main ways that the values and understanding of our organization’s mission can permeate the care work of Camphill Ghent.

Out of the work of Rudolf Steiner which we know as anthroposophy, several pioneering efforts to develop spiritually informed, holistic fields of work have developed such as /the Waldorf School movement, holistic special education (Curative Education), medicine (doctor training, hospitals, clinics), nursing and agriculture/Biodynamics. Also, now especially in Europe, holistic eldercare inspired by anthroposophy is beginning to blossom. It has come out of the stream of the anthroposophical nurses work.

In this country there are relatively few organization attempting to incorporate holistic values and practices into eldercare. Even more rare is an organization that provides assisted living to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in an integrated setting with other residents. In this effort, Camphill Ghent is pioneering a new model of eldercare that is inclusive of a range of needs and corresponding support. We are still at the beginning of this endeavor. The participation of staff in training like the one offered by the Care Course is crucial to this endeavor.

This endeavor belongs to every level of our community. When people take our Care Course, they bring back to the Camphill Ghent community a unifying force through the sharing of their experiences of the course with the other members of our community. Written by David Andrew Schwartz.