The Cedars, a retirement community in Portland Maine, has long held and worked toward a vision for person-centered life. They have been engaged in learning, practicing, stumbling and achieving minor and major feats moving away from institution toward home.
Lately they have been working hard at High Involvement – engaging a Steering Team and several Action Teams, as well as holding a variety of circles — some for fun, some to work step-by-step through large and often complex decisions. One of the action teams focuses on getting the word out.
One way (but not the only way) they do this is to publish a simple one page newsletter. It often has just three items or articles – something about planning – what’s coming up; something about a technique or new knowledge; and then something about how people are involved and what they are talking about, thinking about or decisions they’ve made.
I got excited about this last piece because it so clearly demonstrates and reinforces high involvement. For example, in one newsletter an article listed several answers from staff about their morning routine: what would be a person-centered morning routine and what wouldn’t be. It demonstrated high involvement because it was from a functioning team, not from a book or a boss. It reinforces high involvement because folks realize – “Hey, I was in one of those circles and what I have to say is important enough to share with others.”