Local Nursing Home Resident Makes Journey to See the Ocean for the First Time

August 20, 2014
The Eden Alternative


This is Guest Post was written by Sara Dent with Saint Paul Health Center.

It all started with a conversation over a cup of coffee.  A young resident of a Denver nursing home mentioned to a staff member that he had never seen the ocean.  Nick had been admitted to Saint Paul Health Center ten years ago, at the age of eighteen, and wondered if it would be possible in his lifetime.

Thus began a fundraising campaign and elaborate logistical planning to make sure that Nick dipped his feet in the Pacific Ocean. Adam Fyler, the Activities Director at Saint Paul, set up a crowd-funding page and received significant support from the South City Park neighborhood of Denver and relatives of other residents.

It became clear that flying was not an option.  Too much medical equipment was involved. Nick would travel, by bus, with Adam, a nurse and a nurses’ assistant, his mother, and another resident, Karla.

The travelers departed on August 6th from Denver, weaving their way through the southwest, seeing Moab, the Grand Canyon, and the Hoover Dam along their way to Santa Barbara, where they had rented a large house a few miles from the beach.  On Monday, the 11th, in a special wheelchair with large wheels that could navigate the sands of the beach, Nick encountered the Pacific.  It was an inspiring day for everyone involved in the journey. The following day, on a sea cruise, the travelers viewed dolphins and sea lions.

At the age of 28, Nick took the trip of a lifetime.  What was not understood, when planning began over that cup of coffee earlier this year, is that this journey would come to affect so many neighbors, families and employee care partners along the way.

Click here to read the group’s travel blog. Click here to join the crowd-funding campaign.

This story is a great example of how to weave the Eden Alternative Ten Principles together. It took an organization focused on helping Elders grow to get started (Principle Nine). Then it took wise leadership to help remove the barriers to making the trip happen (Principle Ten). The team understood what would make the trip meaningful for all (Principle Six). They put genuine human caring ahead of treatment (Principle Seven). The built companionship, opportunities to give and receive care and variety and spontaneity into the trip (Principles Three, Four and Five). So, how are you weaving together the principles to make Elders’ dreams come true today?

1 Comment. Leave new

Barbara Smullen
August 20, 2014 6:34 pm

What a magnificent, beautiful story ! Thanks be to God for all the people who made this possible !


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