Finding her Eden: Allison’s story

By HBH - 5 September 2021

Finding her Eden: Allison’s story

“I haven’t adequate words to tell you what it means to us as a family to have Allison living at HBH.  She has come alive again in a remarkable way.”  

Those are the words of Marjory McSaveney, a Howick local who encouraged her sister Allison to move from Dunedin to Auckland to live at HBH Senior Living. “Allison is talking more than she has for years, and although she (like me) has short term memory issues, we are able to talk in depth nowadays,” she enthuses. “Allison is becoming so much more sociable. She’s gained in confidence. She’s growing rather than dwindling!”

As you can imagine, we’re thrilled to receive such positive feedback. As an accredited Eden Alternative facility, our philosophy is centered on moving away from ‘institutionalised living’ to ‘involved living’ – providing a home-like environment where residents have a say and enjoy opportunities for warmth, companionship and spontaneity. Allison’s transformation is a lovely example of how this philosophy really does make a difference.

“Allison’s sense of humour has rekindled,” says Marjory. “ She can now laugh (ruefully) when we talk about her disabilities – and the fact that she keeps forgetting that she cannot stand or walk!  And we both know, and can laugh about the fact that she won’t remember – and we’re grateful that staff check on her the way they do.”

The Eden Alternative is about creating an environment that’s like a home and where residents have a say,” explains Juliette Tuckey, HBH’s General Manager of Clinical Quality. “When you do too much for people, or when every day is the same, residents can feel helpless and institutionalised. Giving the power back to our residents gives them a sense of purpose and creates a deeper sense of belonging for all.”

Marjory says she was very impressed with Allison’s Care Plan. “It’s outstanding and of course, reflects the Eden Alternative philosophy that undergirds what is done at HBH. It was great for us to talk our way through it and we commented on the respectful way in which various statements were worded.”

“As a family we are delighted that Allison made the decision to move from Dunedin to HBH, and we are more than thrilled at what this has meant for her personal wellbeing,” she adds. “Yesterday afternoon I spent time with Allison. When I arrived home I said to my husband, Len, “If anything happens to me, get me into a room like hers in Seymour Ward at HBH. I would feel so safe being cared for there!”

Thanks, Marjory, for the fantastic feedback. It’s letters like these from families that remind us just how special a place HBH Senior Living really is and how much the Eden Alternative philosophy touches our residents’ lives, in every little way.

Lisa Waldren