As we talk with families, one of the best compliments we receive is when they tell us that their loved one thinks they’re home. I was talking with a family member recently, and she shared, “I think my mom believes she’s in her childhood home because it was a ranch similar to this one.”
One of the main reasons I started Our Family Home was to give individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia a real home. A home with a kitchen table that tells the stories of the residents, families and caregivers who have shared meals together. A living room with a comfortable couch and views of a vibrant community with birds, squirrels and the occasional deer.
While some of the newer, larger memory care institutions may attract attention with state-of-the-art tracking technology or interior salons and pubs, we continue to find that what our residents desire more than any of these things is connection. We don’t need tracking technology because our caregivers are present and our homes are small. One of my top priorities is that we maintain our low 5:2 ratio of residents to caregivers at our homes.
However, connection isn’t just about being visible. It’s also about listening, caring and adjusting. We invest in training our caregivers to understand not just the needs of our residents but also to meet them where they are in their journey. We focus less on our schedules and more on theirs.
In a smaller home, we’re able to adjust easier to what is happening with our residents on any particular day. We work hard to build routines that bring comfort and familiarity, while also being flexible and agile enough to refine these measures when it makes sense. We recognize that we’re caring for people and that each person is special and unique.
We also realize that if we want to give our residents and our families more good days, we need to start with this day in our family home.
“My experience with Our Family Home has been completely different. The moment I walked in the door I knew it was the right place. It was open and airy. It felt familiar.” – Jolynn H.
“You made her feel like a person not a burden. You made her feel wanted and comfortable in her own home. This was her home and you were her family in all the ways that matter.” – Cindy S.