Advocacy, Toward better care, You said it!

a real-life example of what great dementia care is: loving, engaging, respectful, meaningful and joyful for everyone involved

A real-life interaction at Landermeads care home. Not staged, not stock, not faked.

It can be done, and it is being done right now in various places around the world including in Canada. We can use this life-changing model (and others that produce the same kind of results) to transform our broken eldercare system. EVERYONE benefits. Let’s do it!

Here are some great quotes from the video below to whet your appetite:

1 ) “What great dementia care is about is saying this isn’t rocket science to create, because I believe every human being knows what it is to be human. They know when they’re walking in somewhere: Does it feel right? Does it sound right? But what happens is we get told to be ‘professional,’ we get told to have distance and to be detached. But this constrains us and limits us as human beings in the care sector.” ~ Dr. David Sheard, creator of the Butterfly Model

2 ) “I can’t really think of caring any other way apart from how I’ve learned here. Which is by caring for the family members in a way that suits them more than it suits us.” ~ Alex King, Support Worker, Landermeads

3 ) “We don’t have an activities coordinator because activities aren’t something we’d bolt on at certain times during the day. We call it ‘occupation’ because people need to feel self-worth, they need to feel involved, and included in what we do, and the best way to do that is to occupy them every day with things that are going on as we would if we were at home.” ~ Ros Heath, Co-Founder and Director, Landermeads

4 ) “People who work in traditional care don’t really understand how to interact with people on a level where they’re emotionally attached to them. I think people here get very emotionally attached, and that’s something that brings out the best in the people who live here.” ~ Jay Heath Finance Director, Landermeads

5 ) “If you can make their lives happy, and have a good time, it doesn’t need to be a bad ending where you’re sitting in a corner, and you’re sad and you’re lonely and nobody’s talking to you. We’re about having fun and having a good time right until the end.” ~ Lisa Bishop, Nurse, Landermeads

6 ) “We absolutely live and breathe what we do, we believe in it, [because of] the evidence we have from the people that we look after. It’s just a joy to see how well people can live who have a dementia.” ~ Ros Heath, Co-Founder and Director, Landermeads

7 ) “This is controversial because in a care sector that’s largely driven by business, driven by models that have been taken from the healthcare systems of hospitals, in terms of clinical efficiency or in terms of what four-star hotel care looks like. But we know [from] our own lives that the greatest thing that helps us survive, that gives us a sense of well being is being loved. And I think [it’s] a huge threat to a professional sector to say that’s what transforms lives. That’s what creates staff who want to be [here]. That’s what reduces staff sickness [and] creates staff retention. That’s what stops people falling in the care home, that’s what stops infection rates – people can’t get their head around it. [The] care sector seems so scared to embrace that as the very core, and then build a business on it.” ~ Dr. David Sheard, creator of the Butterfly Model

Take a look at what is at the core of great dementia care (tissues recommended if you’re sensitive like me!):

Curious? Moved? Energized? Hopeful?

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Advocacy, Resources, Toward better care

what if everything we’ve been taught about dementia care is a lie?

That’s what Dr. David Sheard asked himself in 1995, along with “What if people with dementia don’t have any behaviours?” and “What if we’re actually killing them?”

Based on the answers to those questions, he founded Dementia Care Matters and developed the Butterfly Household Model of Care, a framework that transforms the care home cultures and environments into ones in which people living with dementia can thrive instead of just die.

This Toronto Star video shows what that transformation looks like, and fills me with hope for the future:

More on the in-depth story entitled “The Fix,” by the Toronto Star’s Moira Walsh here.

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Care Partnering, Love, Toward better care

painful care partner choices: love or loss (or sometimes both)?

UK dementia care pioneer David Sheard talks about two stark choices that each of us who loves someone who lives with dementia must make at some point in the journey – maybe even multiple times every day. Both choices, both paths, are painful. But one of the two creates the possibility for love, compassion, joy, and growth, while the other inevitably leads to regret, sorrow, despair and loss.

In the video below, Sheard speaks in reference to family and friends visiting loved ones who live with dementia in long-term care. But I think his wisdom applies equally to those who are primary care partners and living with their loved ones on a full or part-time basis in their homes or in the community.

Of the dozens of videos I’ve watched on dementia care, this is the one that I think is perhaps the most important of all in fundamentally changing the way we approach co-creating and maintaining loving and productive relationships with those whom we love one who live with dementia. It underlies everything else. I invite you to watch and share. Thank you.

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Image copyright: shaiith / 123RF Stock Photo