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Collaboration and Synergy in a Retirement Home

In April 2014 Truida enjoyed facilitating an unusual thought-shop - with the owners, residents and managers of the German retirement home/s in Pretoria. The German retirement home has a complex structure.  The original “old age home” was started by the German Women’s Association over 91 years ago, a complex of small flats was added later, and in 2006 an elegant block with 73 sectional title apartments and a beautiful garden was completed.  This group of facilities is managed by a group of mainly volunteers, under the leadership of the German Women’s Association.

The organisation was looking for ways to promote collaboration and synergy in this large complex, and Prof Lily Gerdes, who lives there, proposed Truida as facilitator for a collaborative planning thought-shop.  (Lily, the first woman professor at UNISA - now 88 - and Truida had worked together on women’s advancement in the 1980s.)

The facts that Truida speaks German, has herself been chair of the trustees of a large sectional title body corporate - and is herself a "senior" J  - made it an interesting assignment. We had fun looking for creative ways to promote communication, and how to overcome some of the inevitable challenges of running such an organisation in tough economic times.  A valuable strength of the group is the commitment of the volunteers, and the wide range of skills and experience that these mostly retired people offer to their community.