Kees Osseweijer is a mentor at Stichting Mentorschap Noordwest en Midden. This foundation offers voluntary mentors for people who need help in maintaining their own direction in care and welfare. This concerns people with an intellectual or psychiatric disability or dementia, who have no family or network. As a mentor, you are your client's advocate, advisor and confidant.
Kees: 'My first steps on the mentoring path could best be described as 'cautious' and perhaps somewhat uncertain. As an experienced retiree you think you have been through a lot, but dealing with people who cannot (completely) take care of themselves was not part of that.
My first steps on the mentoring path could best be described as 'cautious'.
Klaas was my first client and I had an appointment with him in his room on the ward. He was (and still is) not very talkative and, moreover, difficult to understand. It is logical that the conversation was difficult and I immediately learned my first lesson: don't set your expectations too high and first create the right atmosphere and relationship of trust. The latter was going to take quite a while, because I was not Klaas's first mentor and a lot of things had happened. Trust doesn't depend on the position, it has to be earned!
Trust doesn't depend on the position, it has to be earned!
That day we first went to drink coffee in the living room and I also got to know some of his fellow residents. I was penetratingly questioned and some requirements were put on the table, for which I unfortunately could not come up with solutions. 'I'm going to ask' was my response and that was lesson two: if you promise something, you must do it. That sounds logical, of course, but next time Klaas and associates had no understanding whatsoever for my detailed explanation of why it hadn't worked.
A first tentative evaluation after a few months of my fresh mentorship indicated that I had underestimated it somewhat in terms of knowledge and skills on my part and that I still had a lot to learn. But I also thought it was wonderful to see how you can build a relationship of trust with people for whom this is certainly not self-evident.
More information: https://www.zwijndrechtvoorelkaar.nl/hulpvragen/183212
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