It’s a simple concept really. We create an environment where your loved ones are safe, comfortable, and can have some fun. There came a point in our clients’ lives where this concept fell apart while living in their homes. They were no longer safe. They wandered off. They were taking things that didn’t belong to them. They were now very vulnerable to the world around them. Because of this awful disease, things were becoming less and less familiar. They were becoming uncomfortable in their own home. Much of the activities and entertainment that used to be fun are now points of frustration or boredom.
We believe we can create an environment in their home where the basic concepts of restoring safety, comfort and fun are returned to your loved ones. In the process, another beautiful thing happens. Familes–spouses, and/ or children…those who were filled with the stress and heartache of being the caregiver can now return to the relationship of just being the husband/ wife/ son/ daughter. They are once again enjoying the company of their loved one.
So How Do We Do It? How Do We Create This Environment?
We choose our staff carefully. We can give them the tools to work with dementia families, but there has to be a natural empathy and compassion, a patience and acceptance in a dementia caregiver’s heart. This isn’t something we can train them for. They either have it or they don’t. We do our best to discover these caregiving gems when we look to bring someone on our team. From there, we give them the tools–the creative strategies–to connect with our friends. The staff is well trained in excellent in the care offered, as well as being aware of our philosophy of providing your loved ones with safety, comfort and fun.
We Let Our Friends Feel Useful!
Our friends don’t simply sit and stare out windows [unless they choose to]. They are washing dishes, sweeping floors, setting tables, ‘teaching’, doing office work and so much more. They are feeling useful again.
Our Friends’ Senses Are Being Stimulated Again
There are cooking/ baking lessons, road trips [apple orchards, museums, ice-cream shops, etc.], games, exercise programs, and so much more. Being with a friend like us who are active helps each of our friends to feel alive. Again, they are able to have some fun with their lives while feeling safe and comfortable.
Mealtimes Have the Feel of Home
Your loved one can keep those home cooked meals. The staff will fix each meal to our friends’ liking. Beyond the food, meals are a social event that sparks conversation between us. Someone with dementia is many times unable to initiate conversation, but once the staff starts the conversation, they will usually jump into the fray. Also, there’s always therapeutic music in the background that promotes relaxation and serenity during the meals. Many friendships and emotional attachments will be taking place over this social event.
Whether it’s drumming, sculptures, painting, poetry…anything that allows our friends to explore their imaginations and creativity will help to create an atmosphere of fun. We will use whatever creative tool that works to explore your loved one’s imagination.
It isn’t any one ingredient that makes this a success. It’s simply using all these tools to allow your loved one to be safe, comfortable and keep them smiling away their time with us.