Liesbeth and Peter van Oosterom
Target group: Old people with Alzheimer’s
Type of care: Daily care
Farm: 20 ha diary farm (approximately 30 cows)
Income sources: 50% of income from care activity and 50% from agricultural activity.
|Married couple Liesbeth and Peter van Oosterom have been running the JavaRust Care Farm since 2009. The idea to set up a care activity arose from the need to find an additional source of income. It was very difficult to make a living solely from agricultural production. Initially they thought about setting up the farm as agrotourist venture, but Liesbeth also had an interest in providing care for the elderly so they decided to chose that direction. The owner took part in and completed a course in first aid and in the administration of medicines. She subsequently commenced the running of the business from her house by taking care of two elderly ladies who used to visit her twice a week.
She was supported from the outset by her husband who is “a handyman” and can build and repair everything. Thanks to his skills and the materials, bought primarily via the Internet. they have renovated an old barn and turned it into a room for the elderly. Now they can take care of 8 people who come to the JavaRust four times a week. They are transported by their families or by a special taxi from villages and towns nearby, within a 20 km radius of JavaRust.
They start the day gathered around a stylish wooden table in the spacious kitchen. They are offered a cup of morning coffee or tea. Since they try to spend most of the time outdoors they drink their coffee or tea as they go round the farm. They feed the hens, the horse, the cows, the rabbits, the cats and the dog. They help in the vegetable patch and the orchard. They sweep the barn, do DIY or just walk around and keep an eye on everything. After that they prepare dinner together. After dinner they all take a rest (the name of the farm encourages that: Rust means rest in Dutch). At 2:30 p.m. they go outside again. At 3:30 p.m. they are transported to their homes by the owners of the farm. At this point Liesbeth has the opportunity to inform their families about how they spent their day on the farm.
Liesbeth together with two volunteers (comprising a neighbour, and Hank -who is disabled due to a brain injury caused by a car accident) take care of the clients. In addition, on Tuesdays and Thursdays they employ an additional helper which enables Liesbeth to catch up on the paper work. If necessary Peter also helps, in spite of his numerous everyday duties connected with running agricultural production. Students who wish learn how to be a carer also help out, since JavaRust is also a certified training farm.
The clients of JavaRust are mainly people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. One of them is the ninety-two year old Kees who delightedly shows guests around the farm. Marta also suffers from Alzheimer’s and has been deaf since she birth. However, it is not a problem for her to communicate with a guest who does not know sign language. There are also people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, such as seventy-five years old ex-farmer Hans who moves about on a wheelchair. It seems as if each of the clients is the owner of JavaRust since they are all engaged in talking about the farm and providing a narrative about what is happening there. Kees says that he feels like he is at school when he is there because sometimes there are 20 people sitting at the table. Not only the clients spend their time there voluntarily but also guests, neighbours and the owners’ parents.
|“There are pensioners here who forget that they ate something 5 minutes ago. If they were at home on their own they would be eating all the time”
“ We concentrate on what the people can still do and we try to maintain this as long as it is possible”
“ We try to respect our pensioners because Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease”
“ We want our pensioners to have a enjoyable day”
“ We also engage the families, we try to tell them what we were doing. We organize family meetings on the farm twice a year”
“ We participate in the project” “Adopt a grandmother and a grandfather”. We adopted a grandmother and a grandfather from Moldova”