Donkey Cart of the Hospice Movement in Switzerland

On the way to Finisterre (photo credit: Urs & Elisabeth Bläsi)

The project “Old Cheese Dairy” in Tenna, Switzerland, by the Tenna Hospice Association, is becoming a state of the art building with barrier-free accommodation, purpose built for good care for the ageing, dementia and palliative care. However, this privat project is viewed by professionals just like a donkey cart on its journey to the end of the earth.

The project “Old Cheese Dairy” originated from a personal concern as a civil society initiative. It implements in a remote mountain region what dozens of expert position papers and national strategies call for: good care for the ageing, affordable and barrier-free housing, self-determined living to the very last day, and a reduction of the rising cost in health and social services.

The project works with an innovative concept of a synthesis of stationary and ambulatory hospice, nursing and care services. It builds on long-standing social and cultural structures and traditions that continue to exist in the Safien Valley. It collaborates with existing regional services (i.e. home care, ambulatory palliative care), which are being strengthend; it avoids costly competing services and infrastructure.

The core idea of the project “Old Cheese Dairy” is to support the affected people and their family caregivers according to their respective needs and in coordination with professional services. Private and volunteer care and assistance are not being replaced by professional services; they will be recognized, supported and extended. A communal living arrangement is the lived expression of this integrative thinking: each family is an example of such a service model.

The Tenna Hospice Association still needs about half a million Swiss Francs to complete the construction of the building. That is an equivalent to what the next national congress on a topic in health and social service will cost. There, about 400 people will continue to discuss the next steps in best practices for the ageing, dementia or health care. And they will predictably conclude that more money will be needed from an already cash-strapped purse.

The Tenna Hospice Association accepts donations for a concrete solution to accommodate and care for human beings on their last stretch of life in a dignifying way. More info  at Thank you!

Model of the “Old Cheese Dairy” – special care place for the last stretch of life – in Tenna, Switzerland (photo credit:  Tenna Hospice Association)

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