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【《Prestige》Women of Power 專訪】Queenie Man on Ageing Gracefully


Photo: Raising spirits at eldercare centres


Ageing is a fact of life. Yet few look it in the eye and address the impact it has on physical health and mental wellbeing. Prestige Women of Power honouree Queenie Man takes matters into her own hands through her eldercare company Project Futurus.


Photo: Queenie Man and mum


Ageism stems from our fear of ageing and our rejection of growing older. When you look up information on “ageing” or “elderly”, most news headlines are associated with negative connotations. This negative stigma about old age is deeply ingrained in society and often devalues older people. 


I was appalled by the limited dietary options for older people with swallowing difficulties when I first entered eldercare. They were provided with tasteless blended purée meals, which were often left untouched or unfinished. Unlike in a typical mealtime, old people often eat in silence and alone, and sometimes hastily. I felt the need to change this culture because, like us, they should be given choices and mealtimes should be enjoyable. More importantly, having cared for my late grandmother I wanted to be able to provide dignified meal choices to those suffering from dysphagia or nearing the end of their lives. In my current role at the Elderly Commission – and as Captain Softmeal herself – I feel the responsibility of addressing the unmet needs of elders and caregivers. Last year, I had the opportunity to connect with a global panel of care professionals, an eye-opening experience that motivated me to continue to use innovative means to amplify our social impact in the elderly community.


Old people often feel lonely, helpless and bored, which are considered the three plaques of ageing. To improve their wellbeing, it’s crucial to actively engage them in daily conversations and decision-making, ensuring their voices are heard and respected. Empowering them to make choices for themselves is equally important. Having recently interned at an elderly home, witnessing the expressions of helplessness on their faces has deepened my commitment to making a difference for our elderly community. By fostering a society that values and supports individuals of all ages, we can create a more inclusive and compassionate environment for everyone as they navigate the journey of ageing.


The biggest challenge of running an elderly home is changing the fundamental care culture. As an Eden Alternative-inspired senior residential care home, we always strive to create a person-led care environment. Although that’s easier said than done, we often only touch on the iceberg of care. For instance, making slight operational changes, which are often considered low-hanging fruit, while shifting care culture could take years of training and education. It’s important to recognise the need for a systematic change in our care culture, shifting the culture of care from an institutional model to a model where care is centred around the person’s needs. My recent favourite book, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, has reinforced my understanding that our role as care practitioners is to provide elders with options and respect the choices they make. A life well-lived to the end is more important than a good death. By doing so, we become better healthcare practitioners and better people. 


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// ......our role as care practitioners is to provide elders with options and respect the choices they make. A life well-lived to the end is more important than a good death. By doing so, we become better healthcare practitioners and better people. //


//我們作為護理工作者,我們的角色應該是要為長者提供選擇以至尊重他們的選擇。將有尊嚴地好好活到生命的終結看得比善終更為重要,如此我們才會變成更好的照顧者和更好的人。//


早前,The Project Futurus 暨軟餐俠創辦人及行政總裁、「軟餐女俠」 Queenie 獲《Prestige》雜誌選出成為「女性的力量 Women of Power 2023」的其中一員,近日 Queenie 接受《Prestige》訪問,分享如何「優雅地老去」的看法,並談及她對未來「有選擇」樂齡文化的展望和抱負,期望透過一點一滴的改變,從小至操作上,大至系統上,慢慢將安老文化變得更積極、更人性化。未來在 Queenie 帶領下,我們會繼續努力推動安老創新和構建可持續的服務模式,一起探索樂齡的未來。

 

想了解更多我們的訪談内容,可瀏覽原文🔗: https://bit.ly/3y5pANY 

 

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