Written by Kath Murray & Ann-Marie Gilbert
How it started
As a teenager, I volunteered and poured tea at the small nursing home (rest home) where my great-grandmother lived. It was a few blocks from my high school. Granny celebrated her 100th birthday there, she helped with meal prep and even helped “care for” the six other “old people” who lived there (some who were decades younger than her!).
The care home was family owned and the family lived in the basement with their two children. I approached them for a summer job and was delighted to be hired. It was my first paid employment in caregiving – I loved it and I was loved by those I cared for. The elders in that home, and their families, helped open my door to professional caregiving. This was my introduction to the community in caregiving.
I’ve been part of caregiving for decades and have participated in many different models with varying degrees of success in providing excellent care. When I read Stuart Butler’s article I was intrigued by the possibilities for new models of nursing home care. He discusses the Green House model, multi-age living, and rent-free accommodation for college students willing to socialize with residents and help with chores. (Use this link for an excellent overview of dementia care models.) These are exciting new ways forward, however, as you learn more, each model has challenges.
Another model of care that excites me is the “Dementia Care Village” which originated in Europe. One facility is up and running in Langley, BC and a new facility is being built in the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island. The goal for dementia villages is that “Care will shift from the traditional model of care to a new social/relational model of care that integrates a person-centered approach to care.” (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0153-000946)
Enough of me. What are your thoughts?
Each of us is part of the caregiving community, and can contribute to creating new models of care that will appeal to us. I am asking you to consider the following questions, maybe discuss with family, friends and colleagues. Come back here to post your responses. Invite the people you talk with to post their responses too. Let’s see what kinds of ideas we can create!
- Which of these care models do you feel needs to be explored?
- Which of these care models appeals to you for yourself or a loved one?
- What do you believe would better support the person and family, simpler and less cumbersome for the care team?
- What can be changed so that a person and their family receive excellent care from the time of admission all the way through to death and following death?
I’d like to hear all thoughts, from family, friends, nurses, PSWs, social workers, housekeeping, and so on. Add your thoughts in the comments. I look forward to hearing your ideas!