Susanna Lehtovaara: Incorporating into diversity and inclusion into municipal elderly care service centres
In the ENIEC AM, two Susanas held a workshop about social accessibility with the help of Eva Rönkkö. At the beginning, Susana (no. 1) showed us a video by their LGBT foundation about the situation of their members living in Madrid. After this we had a short discussion about the issues LGBT elderly face when getting older.
Next, we jumped right into A Step Forward – exercise which is developed by Susanna (no. 2) and Eva from Finland. This exercise is based on the idea of stepping into someone else’s shoes and imagining life through that perspective. The exercise is done in order to promote social accessibility and it is used as a tool for the training of management, employees, and volunteers in the social and healthcare sector, mainly in elderly care services. Susanna and Eva have developed the trainings in Helsinki city’s elderly care service centres, which are open spaces for elderly and unemployed people to come and spend their time. The exercise is developed for the Finnish context, but in the English translation we have tried to make the roles understandable in European context. The roles we have written are all based in real life situations of elderly living in Finland. Anyone can take this exercise and develop it towards the situation of their own country.
The exercise was eye-opening and sparked a very nice conversation in the group. We got also very valuable feedback to help us develop the exercise further. We are always looking for different kind of tools to use in the training for social and healthcare employees. In our work, we’re looking at the social accessibility from the perspective of aging migrants. We believe it’s important to begin the training of the professionals from the attitudes towards diversity and inclusion, and then build up the knowledge and understanding of the situation of aging migrants living in Finland. In ENIEC we would be interested in developing shared knowledge of how to train professionals, management, and volunteers who work with the elderly to understand social accessibility also from our perspective. If you’re interested in this kind of co-operation, please feel free to contact us 😊
A step forward exercise (English summary)
A step forward is a participatory drama exercise where participants temporarily enter another person’s position and think about the statements presented to them through this role exchange. The exercise is originally developed for children and young people’s drama practice on social justice (Nielikäinen 2009). The exercise has been developed further for social accessibility training for Helsinki city’s elderly service center in October 2016, in co-operation with Jade II -project (Inclusion and well-being for elderly immigrants) – Käpyrinne ry, The Pensioners’ Association’s multicultural activities – Eläkeläiset ry and LGBTI Rights in Finland – Seta ry. The exercise is developed for the Finnish context, but anyone can use it in their own country. You can also prepare your own role cards for this exercise from your country’s context.
The objective of the exercise is to advocate that:
- Creating an inclusive atmosphere in a service center requires working together with managements, employees’ and volunteers’
- Language skills are not obstacle to participate in the activities of an elderly service center
- “I know how to use services” and “I am able to use services” are not always the same thing
Duration: 30-40 min
Target group: Elderly care professionals, students and volunteers
Number of participants: 10 to 30 people (10 role cards). Please note that enough space is required for this exercise. Make sure to reserve an appropriate space in relation to the number of participants.