Enhancing Life Quality for People Living with Dementia

The year The Public Health Agency of Canada officially released its Dementia Care Strategy, Schlegel Villages launched its signature dementia program, LIVING in My Today (LIMT). It was, in 2019, a demonstration of a new way of thinking when it comes to an illness that is rife with stereotypes and misunderstanding. 

One aspect of the thoughtful design pillar in the LIVING in My Today program involves familiar words and images that inspire conversation and comfort for residents. For decades, prevailing approaches to dementia support focused on maintaining, improving or mitigating symptoms, which inevitably dictates that a person living through such changes is at constant risk of decline or diminishment. LIVING in My Today, however, was created collaboratively with experts throughout the world, along with those living with dementia and their caregivers, to challenge this antiquated thinking.  

Four years later as Schlegel Villages marks Alzheimer’s Awareness Month throughout January, the Villages continue to work methodically in various stages to bring the five pillars of the LIMT program to life. As we share the best of our efforts with others beyond our Village walls, we help destigmatize dementia and show others that we can help people to live life to its fullest, no matter where they are in their journey.

“We are investors in their well-being,” says Heather Luth, Director of Dementia Services and Knowledge Integration. “We recognize that those best days will change, because that’s what dementia is, a continual changing, and that’s the difference. It’s about making them happy in that moment and what does it take to do that? What does it take to invest in their well-being?”

LIVING in My Today is broken down into five main pillars: Enjoyable Mealtimes, Meaningful and Active Engagement, Empowered Care Partners, Supportive Approaches to Care and Thoughtful Design.

At the early stage of 2023, Village teams remain in different stages of implementation, as the challenges of COVID-19 protocols absorbed much of the teams’ efforts, but there is a renewed focus on this important work. With each team member that grows more accustomed to the philosophy that guides the LIMT program, those residents in the Villages who live with dementia are better supported.

Under each pillar, small steps can lead to steady improvement. Below we share a few stories that highlight how each area of focus can lead to better outcomes for residents and those who care for them.