An Ontario long-term care center recently opened a type of space that nursing homes. Dementia patients everywhere would benefit from something similar.
Butterfly homes are geared towards meeting the emotional needs of residents with dementia, including their need for connection, warmth, and a feeling of being appreciated. The area is set up to be as much like a home as possible, and the colors that are used are warm and vibrant. Aspects of the residence reflect the people who live there, and staff members reach out to have meaningful interactions with them.
The change in atmosphere at this model butterfly home at Peel Long Term Care has been hard to ignore. The need for antipsychotic medication has decreased among residents. Space has become calm, and the people there are happier and more engaged. Residents who were noncommunicative have begun to speak again in several cases. The results from such small and thoughtful changes to the environment are truly astounding.
The council there were amazed by the results as well, and they intend to open five more similar centers in the near future.
The butterfly home is a model worth considering when looking for a nursing home for a family member with dementia. Even if not all aspects can be found in local nursing homes, some may have more of a home-like touch than others. Check to see if the environment is engaging or clinical. Watch interactions between staff and residents to see if they are genuine or just perfunctory. See what type of activities are available and the level of participation in those activities.
It is important for everyone to feel valued and cared for in a space that belongs, at least in part, to them. This is especially true for dementia patients who may struggle in a strange or minimalist environment.
Even if the only options available are far from the atmosphere of a butterfly home, look into how personal spaces can be decorated. Bringing in and setting up personal belongings that hold special memories and familiar feelings may help to alleviate some of the discomforts that can come with an unfamiliar space.
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