In 2021, BMC began “Connecting Realities,” a new approach and way of life at Pathways Memory Care Center. This multidimensional approach to care and services leads to a satisfying quality of life for our community members. They engage in meaningful programs, such as hobbies and social activities, that connect with events of the past. Health-related empowerment, confidence and purpose in life are also promoted. This approach has been used on another Ohio Masonic Home community with excellent success.
Connecting Realities is a person-centered approach that focuses on the abilities, needs, interests and strengths of elders with dementia in a supportive environment. It can identify where the person with Alzheimer’s is “living” at that moment and help them to become better engaged with those around them, including staff and family, and lead to a better quality of life.
The approach features “life stations” throughout Pathways which support individuals by placing needed memory, visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory cues in the environment. All this provides useful cues and allows for attention to activities that are personally relevant to the community members. These life stations will include the Men’s Workshop, Music & Art Room, Exercise Room, Laundry Station, Office Area, Reading Nook and a Flower Station.
The proof of the success using Connecting Realities comes from testimonials shared by family members:
We have an example of a community member who was non-verbal and did not interact well with others. His visits with his daughter were very strained. She felt that she was talking at him and would sit and stare at him in silence until the visit was over. They were both present but not connecting. Staff then spoke with the daughter and suggested that on her next visit to try something different. The staff provided her with a sensory bin that had magnetic connecting building tiles. The tiles were dumped out on the table and the daughter started to play with them. Before long her dad joined in and was smiling, laughing, and interacting better than any of their recent visits. The daughter came to staff after the visit with tears in her eyes and stated, “I felt like I was able to connect with my dad again even though we didn’t talk.”
A community member has a background of being a school teacher who was also a driver’s education instructor. The staff was aware of his background. When going on an outing the community member was placed behind the driver. During the trip he started critiquing the driver and gave pointers on the do’s and don’ts of driving. At the end of the ride the staff member went to help him off of the bus when he informed her that she received a B for her driving performance. She then listened to his suggestions and let him know that she will work on it before they drive together again.