Imagine if you were labeled by only one word, and that word alone determined how the world treated you. This is the reality for 85% of people living in long term care, who are defined by their diagnosis of dementia.
Instead, what if each elder living with dementia was recognized as an individual, and care partners had the tools and understanding to help them achieve their best life?
The Green House Project developed Best Life to help organizations support people living with dementia to live a rich and rewarding life.
Fully integrated with The Green House model and philosophy, the Best Life program focuses on the holistic needs of each person living with dementia.
- Culture: Until there is a cure our best tool is culture. The prevailing perspective of dementia focuses predominantly on loss, debility and fear. This view has a detrimental effect on the elder’s quality of life, engagement, and well-being. Best Life creates an environment, a real home, that enhances the image of the elder and makes them a partner in their lives and their care. It is crucial to recognize that each elder living with dementia is a unique individual, and has the capability to feel love, friendship, and happiness.
- Meaningful Engagements. The deep knowing relationship between the Shahbaz and the elder supports a purposeful and engaged life, drawing on interests from the past and present. Meaningful Engagements dispel misperceptions about elders living with dementia by promoting connections with others in normal, respectful, and age-appropriate ways. Engagements go beyond passive ‘entertainment.’ By focusing on retained abilities and recognizing the right to make choices, elders can be themselves, try new things and take risks.
- Health and Well-being. Partnering with an elder to create a state of optimal comfort, independence, and success is a central goal of Best Life. Health is a component of well-being, but wellbeing involves more than good health. By training staff in wellness techniques, elders can maintain their physical and cognitive abilities longer. For instance, people living with dementia often don’t have access to fresh air and exercise. These limitations not only restrict pleasure, but impact a good night’s sleep, positive mood, and mobility. Best Life recognizes the value of seeing the whole person, and the implications for quality of life.
Leading The Way Again
Often the best therapy is to provide opportunities for happiness and increased meaning in the lives of residents.” -Dr. Al Power, Dementia Beyond Drugs
Many think it is the disease that causes us to withdraw, and to some extent I believe this is true. But, for many of us, we withdraw because we are not provided with meaningful opportunities that allow us to continue to experience joy, purpose and engagement in life
A philosophy of culture change in which elders are seen as unique individuals, in the driver’s seat of their lives, each with a unique history, preferences and ability to exercise choice.
Being relationship-rich means that person comes before task and sets a tone for how elders will be cared for as well as how staff will treat one another
Celebrating Sharla's Gift
PROGRAM DEVELOPER AND FACILITATOR: Anne Ellett is a certified Nurse Practitioner (NP) with more than 20 years of experience in elder living and memory care, and served as Sr. Vice President with Silverado Senior Living, an award-winning Assisted Living company specializing in dementia care. Currently, Anne is owner/CEO of Memory Care Support, LLC, a consulting firm working with senior housing professionals as they develop state-of-the-art health and wellness and memory care programs.