Staff / client relationships in Danish retirement homes Højtoften and Nederbylund
I spent a week at two retirement homes in Denmark. The first was Højtoften in Vejle, which is on the mainland Jutland and the second was Nederbylund in Tørring, which is on Zealand the largest of the countries islands. Before I go any further I’d like to say that Denmark is an amazing country. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every visit. I think every country around the world could learn a thing or two about how to run a society from Denmark. Admittedly, their taxes are higher than most countries, but their taxes seem to have the correct non corrupt impact on the Danish community. They have extremely low pollution, no congestion, virtually no crime, zero unemployment – and most of all everyone is happy. I should work for the Danish tourism board!
I was hired to take photographs at several retirement homes, the brief was to capture the staff and increase social awareness of the roles they do. This is turn would directly impact the resident’s well-being. The staff and elderly were delightful alike and made me feel really welcome. The staff spoke English which was good for me, and I’m thankful for because my Danish is very basic. It amused them when I asked for a tea in Danish. The residents however, being of a different generation completely, couldn’t speak any English. I had an extremely skilled interpreter with me, Claudia – I could not have managed the job without her for sure.
In England (and I’m sure elsewhere around the globe) there have been the occasional news stories of mistreatment in retirement homes. I spent ten days in total, and visited four in Denmark. I was initially concerned that I would see a lot of unhappy elderly people, but it was quite the opposite. The staff / client relationships in Danish retirement homes are wonderful. They always make sure that each client has equal time with a staff member, and they encourage socializing and hobbies.
The company that hired me was ISU Plus, a very inspiring company. They are an independent company that are booked to go into such retirement homes and increase the well-being of the elderly even further. They do this by spending several months evaluating the staff and timetables, seeing home things work, and then setting up a much fairer more streamlined work flow for the staff. Everyone benefits. ISU Plus always work with many other challenged society groups; disabled, children, asylum seekers etc.
It was fascinating and inspiring to spend time with such warm hearted people.