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Mindful Carers Limited is a very small company with a project as vast as the ocean - to bring more Buddhist values into long-term care (LTC). Co-Director, Dayasara has worked for many years in nursing and nurse education; his final paid job was in dementia care and he continues to volunteer in this field. Dayasara would like to see a residential care home run on Buddhist principles, but the current social care funding situation makes that rather challenging to achieve, so at the moment his particular focus is on frail, older people and others who need support to live
Dayasara writes about this project:-
I became a Buddhist and was ordained in 2001. Around that time I got to know an older Order Member who was in failing health, and visited him at home, then in hospital, and finally in two care homes.
Our friendship prompted reflection on the particular needs of Buddhists in LTC, and I did a PhD on this. In parallel I argue that the care sector provides many opportunities for Buddhist work projects (Team Based Right Livelihoods).
But where to start? Two years ago I was approached by a mitra friend who works in care, the company name emerged, and suddenly we were Co-Directors. Our initial business plan didn’t progress, but then I did some home support work with a relative of a Sangha friend. That came to an end when the lady was admitted to a care home. However, the company continues with a quarterly newsletter, and I often visit Buddhists who have care needs.
A “Buddhist atmosphere” is difficult to define but, I think, easy to recognise. I now feel that the best care context to develop this would be a care home. This would be especially sensitive to the needs of Buddhists and those of Buddhist sympathy, whilst being open to all who wish to be there. Quite a high proportion of people die in care homes, so there could be an overlap with Buddhist involvement in hospice care.
That is some distance away. I am 64 and due to my own health issues I haven’t driven for 3 years. It may turn out that a previous venture, Buddhist Care Network may be more suitable for promoting interest and
sharing information on all forms of LTC and the Buddhist values involved with them.
For more information about this project or to subscribe to the ‘Mindful Carers’ newsletter email Dayasara at dayasara2012 [at] gmail.com.