Living together at Memory Lane Home Living—it is not a new idea. Living in community with others is more often a European concept. Memory Lane Home Living utilizes a well-established, long-standing model of dementia care out of Berlin, Germany called Freunde alter Menschen, affiliated with Les Petits Frères des Pauvres. There are over 600 such homes successfully operating in Berlin alone with a total of 3,500 of these homes successfully operating in all of Germany for the past twenty years.
This social model of care focuses on the residents’ cognitive and emotional needs rather than on medical or physical needs. It concentrates on the remaining abilities and skills of the person. We meet the person based on where they are at presently. Residents feel a greater sense of belonging, comfort, and security and enjoy a better quality of life.
In North America, too many seniors are sent off to institutional assisted living. A recent study indicated that 40% of seniors in assisted care are prematurely institutionalized. 20%, or 1 in 5, enter LTC prematurely (Alzheimer’s Society stats). There are three plagues that exist in institutional/long-term care settings: loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. Our model eliminates these issues by providing an environment that encourages our residents’ participation in this house and the local community.
It is our intention to look at this as “private living” and not a “mini nursing home.” These women participate in the day-to-day decisions and activities of running a house. With the help of in-home support, our care team, family members and volunteers from church communities, we provide community and a sense of belonging among them.
Memory Lane Home Living encourages a sense of Christian community. As seniors journey through this chapter of their life, spirituality becomes important. Studies have shown that dementia participants and their families value the opportunity to better engage with spiritual aspects of their life.
Science Daily published a study on small home environments for people with dementia. The study demonstrated that small environments provide good quality care in a domestic environment where the residents live as individuals and families get more involved. This model creates a sense of community by developing relationships. Dr. David Sheard of the United Kingdom sums it up best on his YouTube video “Feelings Matter Most”. Volunteer and family training is consistent with this model.