Vickie Cammack is founder and CEO of Tyze – a social purpose business which creates personalized networks and bridges the divide between natural loving care and formal systems of care-giving.  She is also a serial social innovator.  She co-founded Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN).  While there she invented personal network strategies that have endured over 20 years.  She was also founding Executive Director of the PLAN Institute for Caring Citizenship and Canada's first Family Support Institute.  Here is her response to: What would you like to become more visible in 2011?   You can also Download Becoming Visible  -  the complete updated collection of 63 essays.

Faithful Friends

Research repeatedly verifies the old adage – a faithful friend is the medicine of life.  When it comes to our well being there is no disagreement, things go better with belonging.  There is bountiful evidence that we live longer, get sick less often, heal more quickly when we have a supportive social network.   We have more academic success, better employment opportunities, healthier diets and happier lives because of the people who love and care for us.
 
Our formal systems of health and social care frequently operate in isolation from the powerful human ties that care for us and help keep us well.  These systems are constructed on a professionally dominated paradigm that is focused on doing things for us and to us, as quickly and efficiently as possible.   This paradigm, so very effective in acute and emergency situations, is ill suited to our growing complex health and social challenges.  

An aging population and an increasing incidence of chronic illness are examples of intractable challenges that reveal both the fiscal and human limitations of our formal systems of care.  There is simply not enough money to provide the care needed over time.  Even more importantly, the spiritual and emotional nourishment, the daily monitoring and support, and the deep knowledge of our personal preferences and needs that are required to achieve true well being, cannot be provided by health and social care practitioners working in prescribed hours, away from our homes and our loved ones, and often for our rural citizens, away from their communities. 
 
Our challenge is to find ways for our formal and informal systems of care to collaborate and actively co-create health and well-being.  We need services that strengthen not supplant our human bonds.  This requires deep shifts in the culture of professionally provided services to focus on assets versus pathologies, to expect contributions versus compliance and to cultivate resilience versus short-term solutions.  Over the long term, policy and shifts in resource flows will be required to scale and sustain early efforts.
 
As a starting place I would like our formal systems to make visible their inability to solve their fiscal and human resource challenges without the contributions of the individual, their families and friends.  In turn, I would like those of us on the informal side of the care equation to value our knowledge, accept our responsibility and visualize our power to contribute to solutions.  

NOTES:

Related Posts: Kindness: A Reflection on Who We Really Are ; Tyze CEO One of Headliners at Global Social Innovation Week

You can download the complete collection of Becoming Visible responses here: Download Becoming Visible.  Or by clicking the Becoming Visible Category on the right hand side of your screen.

Please share and distribute to your friends and through your various networks, websites etc.  I think you will agree – these are too good to keep to ourselves.

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