On the initiative of a group dedicated members of the Rotterdam community the Humanitas Foundation for the Care of the Elderly (now Humanitas Rotterdam) was established in 1959.

The driving force behind this innovative care organization are the four key values:
1. Self determination: one rules over his or her own life.
2. Use it or lose it: maintain the daily routine (assisted when required) in doing whatever one did previously in ones life.
3. Part of the extended family: nobody is excluded, staff, management, suppliers, family, volunteers, everybody is part of the Humanitas family.
4. The ‘yes-culture’: any wish, suggestion, demand, complaint, initiative is met by ‘yes’. Saying yes is the first answer. If requests et cetera can’t be realized the next thing is the dialogue and finding a satisfactory compromise for all parties.

Self determination and ‘use it or lose it’ form the basics for the attitude towards the clients. Implicitly and explicitly the importance of this attitude directs the careers, nursing, medical and paramedical staff to a respectful and supporting behavior whilst treating the client as a responsible and capable human being. The often found attitude of treating the elderly as patients and thus reducing the client to an incapacitated object of care and treatment is non-existing within Humanitas. Which in fact means that new staff members have to ‘unlearn’ most attitudes they are trained in. The benefit for the clients however is incredible. Long forgotten skills and daily life activities revive and ‘keeps the doctor away’.

Humanitas is the inventor of the so-called Apartments for Life. In this apartment older people will be able to stay in their homes and not face the disruption and costs of moving to a nursing home. His non-profit foundation is an inspiration to all private and non-profit seniors care operators as they manage 2,700 apartments across 36 complexes, with 3500 staff and 1000 volunteers, delivering an annual turnover of 120 million Euros. The supermarkets on the premises, hairdressers, beauty salons, dentists, GP practices, physical therapy, speech therapy are outsourced if possible, if not, Humanitas exploits them. All restaurants (17) however are considered as the specialty of Humanitas and form the center part of the Humanitas Care Philosophy together with the 5 Reminiscence Musea.

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