Alzheimer’s Awareness Month 2017 a time for reflection and for new purpose
By Kristian Partington
In early 2016, an advisory committee representing a cross-section of people connected to Schlegel Villages came together to imagine what might be possible in a comprehensive, organization-wide Dementia Care Program. External partners and friends with significant expertise in the field, such as Dr. Allen Power, were joined by residents, team members and family members, as well as people from outside the organization with powerful lived experience, like Mary Beth Wighton, a key player with the Ontario Dementia Advisory Group who is also living with dementia.
The goal of the committee was to assess present strengths within Schlegel Villages while considering external programs that are successfully helping enhance the lives of people living with dementia. At the core of the committee’s efforts, triggered by profound exploration within the organization, are the Guiding Principles that will act as the organization’s compass as the Dementia Care Program is strengthened and solidified.
Much of the committee’s findings highlight the importance of addressing each person’s individual experience in terms of living with dementia, and the Guiding Principles are rooted in this understanding.
“Schlegel Villages,” reads the Guiding Principles preamble, “is committed to fostering a compassionate community where people living with dementia feel included and supported so that they can continue to live a life filled with meaningful relationships and moments of purpose and pleasure.”
The four key principles that guide the Schlegel Villages Dementia Program are:
“People living with dementia have unique life stories, experiences and perspectives that are validated and honoured.”
“People living with dementia, their care partners, and team members engage in genuine, meaningful & authentic relationships built upon equality, empowerment and respect.”
“People living with dementia have the right to experience a life of freedom and choice that reflects their values, needs and preferences.”
“People living with dementia have opportunities to experience meaning, purpose and growth every day.”
If 2016 was about dreaming of possibilities and deeply exploring what success can truly look like in terms of providing exceptional support for people living with dementia, then 2017 is when things will start to take shape. During the month of January, in honour of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, The Village Voice will aim to highlight some of the hopes for the future while continuing to shine a spotlight upon current initiatives that make it possible for residents living with dementia to find meaning and purpose in their every day village lives.
The committee, the neighbourhoods and the villages are just getting started, so please stay tuned for more updates.
Here are the Guiding Principles read by the Humber Heights To Whom I May Concern sharing group members. Each of the members are living with dementia and have been sharing their lived experiences at Humber Heights and across our organization.