Sunday, 29 January 2012


"OK. Three. Two. One."
Applause washed over the two women seated in comfortable arm chairs on a brightly lit stage.
The applause ebbed away.
"Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen. Greet with me our next guest, Nadiya Hunter!" said the woman on the left, all radiating smiles.Nadiya waved shyly towards the camera, a timid grin on her lips.
"You may not recognise her face, but you will certainly know who she is once I've told you what she does. Nadiya is the most prominent elderly care nurse on the entire planet! Can you tell us how you got there, Nadiya?"
"Sure, Kim." Nadiya cleared her throat. "I started as a regular apprentice in nursing and soon focused on elderly care. I love working with old people." For the first time that day, a genuine smile appeared on her face. "Over the last twenty years, I've worked in five different nursing homes in different countries to broaden my experience."
"But something bothered you, didn't it?"
"Well, yes. It took me years to realise what it was, though, so used was I to current standards for the care of the elderly."
"And what was it that you figured out in the end?" prompted the interviewer.
"It was that, no matter how much we cared for our protégés, we never really considered their wishes. You see, in our profession we believe that the elderly, as the people who contributed to our future with their past, should be as comfortable as possible. We take care of them, help them to get on with their lives despite their weaknesses, ask if they are comfortable and what they'd like to eat, but that's just not enough, for there's no sense in believing what's right unless it leads to helping people in distress. And some of them - most of them - were in distress without us knowing."
"How so?"
"They grew up spending quite some time outside, for example. We are not used to taking walks any more, we have holograms and big screens and air ventilation in fitness centres. They had parks to run through, or walk through, or ride bikes through, or horses for that matter. Also, have you ever been inside a standard nursing home? It's so white - the walls, the floor and ceiling, the clothes, the sheets - it's almost sterile. Nobody in his or her right mind can feel comfortable, much less happy and content, in there."
"So what did you do, Nadiya?"
"I started to listen. The problem, if you can call it that, with the elderly is that they often feel as a burden for society. Most of them would never dream of complaining unless they were treated really badly. Ask them if they are happy and they nod and smile, even though they are not. Instead of asking directly, I learned to listen to all the small hints, for example in the stories of their past. Then I built a new nursing home concept around it." Nadiya shrugged and smiled at the camera, slightly embarrassed after this long speech.
"And we all know how that ended, don't we? More and more nursing homes are being overhauled according to Nadiya's principles. This is not only an improvement for those living and working within, but also for the children and grandchildren, proven by recent statistics showing that visitor numbers have increased about 30 per cent for the new nursing homes.
So, thank you Nadiya for coming here to tell us about your vision. I am sure all our watchers wish you the best of luck and success with your project!"

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