Imagine a memory care home that never mentions words like “confusion, memory loss, or dementia” when you are talking with them. These words often come up in conversation with teams that care for those living with dementia. Introducing, Chateau Gardens Memory Care, Springfield, OR, who joined the Eden Registry on August 14, 2012. The team at Chateau Gardens says “We are a memory care home, but you would not know it by coming here. Here we focus on what the Elders can do. We have the happiest group of Elders because we know them well.”
Through education, they have been able to prepare the care partner team to embrace change and honor the rhythm of daily life for the Elders. Their initial Eden Alternative education plan included reviews of each of the Eden Alternative Principles followed by a homework assignment. Then they would come back together and share what they learned about that Principle. This has been a powerful way to build a shared understanding of how the Eden Alternative Philosophy can come to life daily in their home.
The care partner team is empowered to be spontaneous and ‘go with the flow’. Whatever an Elder care partner would like to do, the supplies or resources are readily available to make it happen. Simple pleasures are learned, captured in the medication record and implemented as often as the Elder prefers. The Elder Council recommends different things they would like to do and often they get incorporated into the community calendar. The Elders like to travel out into the community to the fair, fishing, the movies or driving to the coast. They really enjoy getting ‘decked-out’ for tea parties. There are quite a few dog lovers at the home who love going to the nearby dog park.
Their recommendation to those considering the Eden Alternative as their culture change approach is, “You need to take a good hard look at your processes as they are. Go through each operational area and identify the little pieces and what you can do to make it more Eden-friendly. You have to be creative and throw a lot of ideas around.” One example of their creativity is their mealtime experience. Each employee care partner that is there at mealtime takes a serving dish and goes around to the tables asking the Elders what they want to eat and serving it to them. Once the Elders are served, the employees fill their plates and everyone eats together.
Chateau Gardens Memory Care lives by its company’s mission statement: Joy, Independence and Wellness. This mission is celebrated for all care partners who touch life in this home.