Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Ron Smith Care Centre celebrates Eden Alternative status




Ron Smith Care Centre is the first organisation in Gauteng – and the second in Africa – to become a member of Eden Alternative South Africa registry. This means that the Rand Aid Association care centre in Lyndhurst has joined over 350 international long-term care communities committed to improving the quality of life and care for the people they serve.

Founded in the USA in 1991 by Dr William Thomas, a Harvard-educated physician and Board Certified Geriatrician, the Eden Alternative is a small not-for-profit organisation already making a big difference across the world. The philosophy is based on the core belief that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline.

The core concept of the Eden Alternative is strikingly simple. It is about teaching us to see places where elders live as habitats for human beings rather than facilities for the frail and elderly. This approach supports the creation of communities which eliminate the plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom.



  Rayne Stroebel, the Eden Alternative Regional Co-ordinator: South Africa (centre), presents an official Eden plaque to Rae Brown, Rand Aid CEO (right), and Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid GM: Services and Advance Division.



A milestone worth celebrating


On November 24, 2016, gaily-decorated tables were set up inside a marquee in the grounds of Ron Smith Care Centre and residents, staff members, volunteers and members of the Rand Aid board and village committees gathered to witness Rayne Stroebel, the Eden Alternative Regional Co-ordinator: South Africa, present an official Eden plaque to Rae Brown, Rand Aid CEO, and Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid GM: Services and Advance Division.

The care centre began its Eden Alternative journey in 2012, with a presentation by Rayne to the Rand Aid board, and since then, has made a number of physical and operational changes to meet Eden Alternative assessment criteria.

“Ladies and gentlemen, whoever said that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, was wrong,” said Zabeth at the celebration. “Here we are, after 26 years, and the Ron Smith Care Centre has been transformed.

“In 1990, when this care centre was built, everyone still thought that residential care for elders should resemble hospitals, both in structure and services.”

She explained that then, excellent nursing care, good housekeeping, nutritious food and efficient administration were considered sufficient when it came to the care of older persons.

“But so much more is needed,” she added. “Through our Eden Alternative journey, we realised that our mission is not simply to nurse patients. Our starting point should be to provide a real HOME for each elder who chooses to live with us. A home where each person feels valued, has the opportunity to grow, to develop new interests, practice old and new hobbies, socialise with family and friends, contribute to the community, and have meaningful relationships with staff and other elders.

“In short, we must ensure that each elder is enabled to live life to the fullest as part of a loving, caring and supportive family. And in surroundings that resemble home as much as possible.”

Chairman of the Rand Aid Board, John Robinson explained how Rand Aid has changed over the years and committed to working towards the roll-out of Eden principles at all Rand Aid properties.

Board member Neil Garden congratulated management and staff on their achievement, saying they go about their work with great enthusiasm and compassion.

“What an honour it is to be in the presence of excellence,” said Rayne. “I find it fascinating that an organisation that supports our elders should be taking the lead to show the world what service excellence is about.”

Jill Jones spoke on behalf of her fellow residents, saying, “We are treated as individuals with different needs and wants. Many of our sisters and carers should be sprouting angel wings or haloes as they go about their daily tasks.”

For information on the Eden Alternative South Africa, please visit their website at www.edenalt.co.za. More can be learnt about the Ron Smith Care Centre at www.randaid.co.za


























Address at the Eden Alternative Milestone One Celebration in November 2016 by Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid GM: Services and Advance Division

Ladies and Gentlemen, whoever said that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks, was wrong.
Here we are, after 26 years, and the Ron Smith Care Centre has been transformed. In 1990, when this care centre was built, everyone still thought that residential care for elders should resemble hospitals, both in structure and services. This explains our long passages and previously very institutional bathrooms. As far as services goes, excellent nursing care, good housekeeping, nutritious food and efficient administration are important in hospital care. These services are also essential in residential care for elders, but here they have to be so much more. All services have to be infused with the spirit and values of the Eden Alternative.
Through our Eden Alternative journey we realised that our mission is not simply to nurse patients. Our starting point should be to provide a real HOME for each elder who chooses to live with us. A home where each person feels valued, has the opportunity to grow, to develop new interests, practice old and new hobbies, socialise with family and friends, contribute to the community, and have meaningful relationships with staff and other elders. In short, we must ensure that each elder is enabled to live life to the fullest as part of a loving, caring and supportive family. And in surroundings that resemble home as much as possible.
Rayne [Stroebel, Eden Alternative Regional Co-ordinator: South Africa], we thank you and the Eden team for being so supportive during the past four years. You have given freely of your expertise and experience. We are celebrating a huge milestone today. At the same time we realise this is not the destination. It is just the beginning. A culture change from an institutional environment to an Edenised community is an ongoing journey of growth and development.  We will value your continued guidance as we travel along this road.
We would also like to thank Rae Brown, the CEO of Rand Aid, and the Boards of Rand Aid and the RAWDT for their belief in the Eden values. As a result of which funds were made available for the building project to upgrade the bathrooms and passages. The new facilities promote the dignity of our elders and are so much more conducive to good care practices.

Ladies and gentlemen, our Eden journey has yielded beautiful fruits in the form of positive feedback from elders, families, staff and volunteers. We look forward, as one care team, to continue creating a better life for all. The Ron Smith Care Centre will never again be just another old age home. We have committed to a person-centred community which is safe and secure, where each individual is known and has the opportunity to live a life worth living. 



Address at the Eden Alternative Milestone One Celebration in November 2016 by Jill Jones, a resident of the Ron Smith Care Centre:
Good morning honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen. What a great occasion this is. As residents we are so fortunate to be living here and experiencing the benefits of the Eden Alternative solution to make life for elders consequential and enjoyable.
One thing we have all experienced is that as we arrive, everyone is so friendly. Whether well known or stranger, there are friendly ‘Hellos’, accompanied by a smile from staff, carers and residents.
The caring environment is experienced from the beginning.
It is so important for the residents to have something significant to occupy their time. In this, the OT department is pivotal in providing such varied creative occupations to stimulate people and foster friendship links. A lady who sits next to me at lunch is a day visitor three times a week. She is alone at home and at first she was reluctant to come here when her daughter suggested it. Now she can’t wait for her weekly visits. She confided to me that she had never picked up a paintbrush in her life, but at the age of late 70s has discovered a new absorbing talent of fabric painting, opening a new window of interest. She enjoys the other activities and meeting new friends. It has been a very positive experience.
In-house residents feel the same where a previously untried skill has become absorbing and creative.
The home-like atmosphere here in the frail care centre is also very comforting to the residents. It is wonderful to be able to arrange our rooms with furniture and articles from home so we are surrounded by familiar things.
Important pictures on the walls and family photos make a world of difference to our lives.
The caring attitude of the Sisters in charge and the carers who are with us daily means a great deal. We are treated as individuals with different needs and wants, with a great deal of patience. Many of our sisters and carers should be sprouting angel wings or haloes as they go about their daily tasks and we can only be very grateful for them and say ‘Thank you’.
The older, or challenged, residents are treated with the same care and consideration, depending on their needs, with great tolerance and understanding.
Speaking of the older residents reminds me of the story of the great grandfather of 104 years old celebrating his birthday. One of his young family members asked him if he thought he would reach 105.
“Of course I will,” he replied. “Statistics show that very few people die between 104 and 105.”
 Getting older often means that we need more gadgets to help us. Gadgets such as walking sticks, crutches, wheelchairs, glasses, hearing aids and false teeth.
A grandmother confided to me the other day that when her young grandson was visiting her he watched with absolute fascination as she took out her false teeth brushed them and then popped them back into her mouth. “Cool, Granny,” he said. “Now take off your arm.”



On a more serious note, the freedom we are given as individuals under the Eden Alternative is awesome.
Some of us decide to go to bed at 6.30pm, others at 10.30pm. Some prefer to get up at 5.30am others at 9am. It’s not a problem.
We are free during the day to do our own thing or go up to OT. There we are able to choose to join the organised activity or to do something else like puzzles or paint or watch a video or TV.
I have been free to establish my own pot garden on the patio in front of my room. This gives me enormous pleasure daily. I also fabric paint my own projects, dress make for myself, create greeting cards or do beading, just as I wish. When I fill pots with soil and plant out seedlings I get the feel of earth on my fingers and generally get covered in mud. It’s very fulfilling to be in touch with nature and the earth.
At first when I arrived I missed our two daughters who live in England and Canada, very much. I also missed our two cats. A few weeks later, after I mentioned this to one of the staff members in the office, Helen [Petrie, Complex Manager] came round the following day to ask ‘Would you like a kitten?’ Of course I jumped at the chance and soon Annie Cat came to live with me. She has turned out to be a very social cat, quite at home in the unit and visits up and down the passage. She frequently comes into the lounge and watches TV with us. So she gives pleasure not only to me but to others as well, and enjoys all the petting.
The yearly particular days and occasions are always made unique for us by the staff. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s days, Mandela Day, Women’s Day, Christmas Day are all special. A card, chocolate or whatever appears at our places at table, and a Christmas tree and decorations are all erected. It is lovely, and so like home.
In closing, on behalf of all the residents, I would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts all the staff and management for adopting the Eden Alternative so enthusiastically and working so hard to make it a reality. They have, and do, go out of their way to make the Ron Smith Care Centre a wonderful place in which to live. We are constantly thought about and cared for, our concerns are addressed, and I don’t think we could ever ask for more.
Thank you very, very much.







A flood of help after rains



Rand Aid management, staff members and their families worked through the night after the recent flooding forced the evacuation of 59 residents of the Ron Smith Care Centre from their rooms.
Resident Jill Jones of the Rand Aid-run care centre spoke on behalf of fellow residents, saying that they would like to thank staff and management from the bottom of their hearts for the rapid response.
“When the recent floods occurred and all the ground floor residents were evacuated to the hall, all the staff – from management downwards – were here working past midnight mopping and cleaning up.
“They made a huge effort and our rooms were spotless when they had finished, after being filled with water, mud and debris just a few hours before,” says Jill.
“Everyone was amazing,” says Wim Pieterse, Rand Aid’s GM of Finance. “They all just climbed in.
“The footbridge over the Jukskei River between Tarentaal and Ron Smith Care Centre was washed away, and with that all our connections. Our security and computer systems were affected and we had to install wireless dishes,” explains Wim.
In addition, fencing and security cameras were washed away but have since been reinstalled.
A team of Rand Aid workers spent days removing rubble and debris from the Juksei River once the more pressing work had been done.







Dance put in seniors’ step


Greg Scholtz with fellow Ron Smith Care Centre volunteer Margaret Lenart at Elphino’s, the coffee shop situated in the grounds of Elphin Lodge and Ron Smith Care Centre.



The welcome is on the mat at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre.
The Lyndhurst-based care centre for elders in need of full-time or recuperative care loves having visitors. Its doors are always open to family members and friends, and there are around 40 volunteers who dedicate their time to enriching the lives of the people who call Ron Smith Care Centre home.
This dedication to people-centred care recently saw Ron Smith Care Centre become only the second organisation in Africa to become a member of Eden Alternative South Africa registry. The Eden Register is an honour society that elevates and acknowledges the hard work of going against long-standing institutional systems and creating a true home and community of older persons.
One of the care centre’s regular volunteers is Greg Scholtz who first came into contact with Rand Aid Association four years ago, and has now almost become one of the family.
Sovereign Construction Synergy was hired four years ago to renovate the chapel at Rand Aid’s Tarentaal retirement village, and Greg and company founder Wayne Wilmot soon found that Rand Aid and its residents had crept under their skin.
Apart from doing a number of construction jobs for Rand Aid since then, Greg willingly DJs at many a Rand Aid event, Sovereign has been a sponsor of many an event, and the two men two years ago started hosting monthly dance evenings at Ron Smith Care Centre. Greg proudly continues this tradition.
These events are open not only to residents of all Rand Aid complexes, but also members of the public, which is good for community relations. The music is mainly ballroom, Latin American, country and other genres. “Anything except heavy metal, actually,” chuckles Greg.
In addition, the dance lessons Greg gives as a volunteer at the care centre have become a firm favourite with residents and visitors to Ron Smith’s day care centre and Greg says he loves seeing the spark he lights in their eyes.
He cites a study done at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City that showed that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. 
The dance-mad Kensington resident has bronze, silver, gold, gold bar (advanced master’s) and gold star (examiner’s certificate) teaching certificates. In 1997 he won three trophies at the Diamond Star Latin American and Ballroom Dance Championships, for Top Ballroom Professional, Top Latin American Professional and Top Dance Studio
In October 2016, at the Gauteng Ballroom and Latin American Dance Challenge, he and partner Pam Kollnick won two gold medals in the Senior Age Group and took first place in Ballroom, dancing the Slow Waltz and Quickstep, and first place in Latin American, dancing the Cha Cha and Jive. 
For more information on the Saturday night dance evenings, call Greg at 076 821 2304.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Ron Smith Care Centre is in need of volunteers, after a few regulars have been forced through poor health and various other commitments to stop their volunteer work.
Volunteers need no experience. They only need time and empathy to spare. Volunteers assist with various activities such as arts and crafts, soap making, cardmaking, movement and music, singing, baking, walking, news hour, afternoon picnics and high teas, and visiting elderly residents on a one-on-one basis.
For more info on the volunteer programme, contact Debbie Christen at 011 882 6296 or dchristen@randaid.co.za



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Eden Commitment Ceremonies at Ron Smith Care Centre



Rand Aid Association’s Ron Smith Care Centre is now officially an Eden Alternative registered home! 

In order to acknowledge and thank all staff and volunteers for their contribution towards this major achievement, management initiated Commitment Ceremonies on each of the residential wings and for all care centre departments. 

Each person was gifted with an ‘Eden Bag’ which features a reminder on what it means to follow the Eden Alternative way.  “We talked about the message on the bag and then each person selected a ‘pledge tag’ and was asked to fill out one side of their tag with their name and work area.  On the other side, they were to write their personal commitment for following the Eden way of giving person-centred care and to bring quality of life and well-being to our Elders and to each other,” says Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s GM Services and Advance Division.

“All staff - from nursing, housekeeping, maintenance, security, gardening, OT, administration and management - were then asked to hang their pledge tag on our special ‘Eden Tree’ so that we can all be reminded of our personal commitment to the Eden Alternative.”



Cedar Park staff member Mathabo Matutle adds her contribution to the ‘Eden Tree’. 


Servest gardener Kabelo Makhubele.


Lakeside staff Martha Mabuyela, Olga Tivane, Geminah Baloyi, Tondani Mudau, Priscilla Nkosi and Iris Radebe. 


Suzie Webber shares in the excitement of other Ron Smith Care Centre staff members.


River Lodge 3 staff members Mpho Pitso, Nicky Ponco, Sarah Moila and Bernice Modau.



River Lodge 1 staff Thabisile Ndobe (standing, front) and Sharon Lesufi (kneeling, front) with Leannie Bessinger, Juliet Malachi and Wilhelmina Baloyi.



Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Ron Smith Care Centre commits to implementing the Eden Alternative



Ron Smith Care Centre is the first organisation in Gauteng – and the second in South Africa – to become a member of Eden Alternative South Africa registry. This means that the Rand Aid Association care centre in Lyndhurst has joined over 350 international long-term care communities committed to improving the quality of life and care for the people they serve.

Founded in the USA in 1991 by Dr William Thomas, a Harvard-educated physician and Board Certified Geriatrician, the Eden Alternative is a small not-for-profit organisation already making a big difference across the world in countries such as Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland and, now, South Africa. The philosophy is based on the core belief that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline. The Eden Alternative is a powerful tool for improving quality of life for our elders and for recapturing a meaningful work life for care partners.

The core concept of the Eden Alternative is strikingly simple. It is about teaching us to see places where elders live as habitats for human beings rather than facilities for the frail and elderly. This approach supports the creation of communities which eliminate the plagues of loneliness, helplessness and boredom. These are plagues of the human spirit, not the human body, but they can be just as debilitating and just as deadly as any disease of the body.

The Eden Register is an honour society that elevates and acknowledges the hard work of going against long-standing institutional systems and creating a true home and community. Homes listed on the Eden Register have committed to doing just that, through the adoption of the Eden Alternative Principles and Practices. Implementing the Eden Alternative is a journey and homes on the Eden Register are all at different stages of growth along that journey. They are admitted to the Eden Register based on their foundation of Eden Alternative education, the support and commitment of their formal leadership and their plans for ongoing growth and implementation. The Eden Alternative organisation provides guidance, support and encouragement to these homes, but does not offer close supervision of their daily operations.

Ron Smith Care Centre began its Eden Alternative journey in 2012 and since then, has made a number of physical and operational changes to meet Eden Alternative assessment criteria. By joining the Eden Register, the staff and management of the home has confirmed their commitment to continue to work towards meaningful culture change through ongoing training and a continued dedication to making life better for those who live and work there.

Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid GM: Services and Advance Division, says, “The Eden Alternative has shown us how close and continuous relationships, the opportunity to give meaningful care to other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened community can succeed in enriching the lives of the elders in our care. It also shows us how to create a warm culture that is characterised by optimism, trust, generosity and people working together to make a better world for our elders. Most importantly, Eden teaches us that decisions belong with our elders, or as close to our elders as possible.”


“The traditional medical model that has been dominant in the care of our elders has many
shortcomings. The plagues of the human spirit run rampant in these cold, sterile social and physical environments. Our elders need and deserve an opportunity for a life worth living, not just time spent waiting to die. With the adoption of the Eden Alternative Philosophy and Principles, Ron Smith Care Centre is working to show people it can be different,” says Rayne Stroebel, Eden Alternative Regional Co-ordinator: South Africa.

For information on the Eden Alternative South Africa, please visit their website at www.edenalt.co.za. More can be learnt about the Ron Smith Care Centre at www.randaid.co.za



The Core Eden Team - a job well done!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Heritage Month



Florah Lekau and resident Cedric Hicks thoroughly enjoy the Cultural Dance Show.


Celebrating Cultural Diversity at RSCC

On Friday, September 23, the community at Rand Aid’s Ron Smith Care Centre gathered outdoors in their numbers to celebrate, through music and dance, the richness and diversity of cultures represented at the care centre. 

Seated under the lovely shade of gazebos and umbrellas, residents and visitors were treated to a cultural dance spectacle performed by various staff from housekeeping, nursing, gardening and occupational therapy. Everyone was beautifully attired in their various national dress and many of the residents wore hats decorated with South African flags and an indication of where they were born or their cultural roots.

The dance programme included traditional dances from the various tribes of our rich and colourful rainbow nation:  the BaPedi, Zulu, Xhosa, BaVenda, BaTshonga, and Indian. The traditional African dances were followed by the whole group performing a Latin American line dance and Israeli folk dance. Then it was on to Austria, where the staff scattered into the audience and danced with the seated residents to a beautiful Viennese waltz. The show ended with the whole care centre community being invited to join in the last dance to music by the well-known group, Malaika.

The cultural dance show was followed by a traditional South African braai which included boerewors, chicken, salads, pap and gravy, and was nicely finished off with an Eskimo Pie, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Debbie Christen, Rand Aid’s Manager: Recreational Programmes, commented, “The exposure to the music and dance of different cultures was wonderfully enriching, and was a good opportunity to learn more about the cultural identity and heritage of our residents and staff at the care centre. Staff members were very excited and proud to be able to share their traditional dances and their enthusiastic participation created a wonderful feeling of unity and harmony.”

Many of the residents remarked that it was a joyous celebration and that they all benefited from this event in that they discovered a newly-found appreciation for the diversity of cultures in South Africa and learned more about the cultural identities of their neighbours.


Bunny Marks (front) with Janet Smart, Dolly Luke and Gertie Dansky (back).


Front: Prudence Mokoena, Faith Noghabe, Maria Letswalo, Nakedi Chokoe and Candy Ratshibvumo. Back: Beauty Buthelezi, Sarah Moila and Hazel Makhwebusa.


Resident Mariana Duvenage, whose roots are in Portugal, enjoys the Heritage Day event.


Front: Sannie Wucherpfennig, Mariana Duvenage, Marie Theron and Lorraine Lowden. Back: Jovita Mendonca and Molly Matroos.


Resident Beile Rollnick enjoys the Strauss waltz with Marietta Viljoen.


Pam Moodley, Thabisile Ndobe, Ria van der Westhuizen, Vhutshilo Nemakula, Nolly Mlandu, Germinah Baloyi and Khumbalo Mabuli.


Residents Margaret Beattie and Elaine van Heerden enjoy a beautiful Strauss waltz with Rand Aid’s Debbie Christen. Back: Resident Jack Toker enjoys the music with Shirley Makwarela.


The Staff Dance Group performs an exuberant Latin American line dance.


Zuko Ndamse.


Embracing diversity… Resident Colleen Blowe, Lillian Mashale, Penelope Mthembu, Shirley Makwarela,  resident Joy Smith and Takalani Phutu.