Improving the lives of older people
and their carers by transforming the
communities in which they live and work"

Go home!

One of the many things that got stuck in my mind from my conversations with Carol Ende (or is it Carol Eden?!) during her visit to South Africa in October, is the following story.

In a home where Carol worked before, the team made a commitment to the culture change process within the organisation in order to create a life worth living for all.

They worked on building strong and trusting relationships amongst staff and all were in agreement on the atmosphere and vision they wanted to establish within the home.

Carol arrived at work one morning in a troubled and conflicted mood. The first person that crossed her path as she entered the building was Dan, the maintenance man. Soon after they greeted each other, he stopped her in her tracks and said: “I just went to say good morning to everyone and the atmosphere (climate) is calm and peaceful and your negative vibe is going to ruin it all. Please go home and come back when you are in a better mood!”

Although Carol did not like what she was hearing, she knew he spoke the truth and had to turn around and go home. She did, however, return later and it was another good day at work.

What stands out for me, is the kind of relationship that existed between Carol and a co-worker, that allowed for brutal honesty in an attempt to ensure the sacredness of the well-being of the elders (even if it was only for the sake of the peace and calm of that moment).

It also shows a commitment to the change process. Proof of real authentic relationships without ego’s blocking the flow of love and care towards the elders and each other.

I believe this is the starting point of deep culture change. Wise leaders must first work hard on creating authentic trust relationships amongst themselves. Not one ego must stand in the way of why you are where you are and what you need to achieve. Leaders must help each other to stay focused on the end goal, the vision. Not with harsh words but with care and honesty. It’s not easy and we need to work at it together. Like principle nine states, it is an on-going and never ending process. It is however possible!

Thank you Carol for sharing and answering the ever present ‘how to?’ question!


Carol, her husband Jim and Magda – Coffee, laughter and conversation in Stellenbosch before the start of the 2014 SA Care Forum Festival.


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