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How Is This for Telling Dementia Residents' Stories with Power?

Fara Gold's picture

y Fara Gold McLaughlin

When Autumn Leaves Memory Care Assisted Living wanted to share their residents’ moments of joy or record happy memories, they didn’t have the right tools. Until now. With OneDay (a Senior Housing Forum partner), Autumn Leaves team members use this innovative video storytelling app to quickly and easily capture special moments. All that’s needed to produce high-quality, branded videos is the OneDay app and a smartphone. 

As family members struggle with the toll the disease takes on their loved one, Autumn Leaves provides exceptional support of the family through specially trained dementia care staff, as well as through technology like OneDay that help to preserve the family’s legacy.

Autumn Leaves has launched the creation of a Video Library of Memories of residents at all stages of the dementia journey. This helps prospective resident families identify their own loved ones struggle, while also validating the emotion and reality of their individual journey. As so many families feel alone with the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia, OneDay, provides video prompts that help elicit memories of long-forgotten moments – capturing a moment of reminiscence that brings joy to everyone.

When a caregiver asks a resident how many children they have, he may often struggle with the answer. While difficult to witness, the video documents the difficulties of the disease, but in a dignified way. Clare Dempsey, marketing and communications manager for Autumn Leaves’ parent company (The LaSalle Group), shares, “The OneDay app allows us to capture and share the realities of the disease, from the struggle of trying to recall details from the past to those happy moments where conversation sparks a treasured memory. It allows our residents to share their story with authenticity and sense of pride. Those are the moments that can bring joy to the resident and peace to the family.”

Ms. Dempsey adds, “Our staff takes great pride in knowing they are helping preserve our residents’ priceless memories, whether an anecdote, a quick smile, singing along to a favorite hymn, or engaging in a community activity. We love sharing those moments of joy with our families who often feel helpless as they grieve the gradual loss of their loved one. OneDay videos reaffirm for them that their family member is loved and well cared for and that we understand the importance in helping them live with dignity and purpose. The dementia journey is not an easy one, but the OneDay videos reassure family members that they’ve made the best care decision for their loved one.”

For residents in the later stages of dementia who can no longer communicate easily, sometimes a simple “either/or” prompt such as, “Do you prefer pizza or ice cream?” can elicit a great response from the residents or even spark a memory of a trip to an ice cream shop or pizza parlor. Sharing residents’ reactions to music and dancing are also a great way to help prospective families see the wide range of activities happening in the community, as well as providing quality video content to post into social media platforms.  

OneDay has collaborated with Autumn Leaves to create community-specific templates and staff prompts to yield more meaningful responses to, “How did you hear about us?” When a prospect family says, “We heard you have a great music program.” We can tailor our reply to our prospects, with a short, specific 45-second video demonstrating an aspect of our community’s life that is important to them.  

Ms. Dempsey says, “We are excited to have an app that empowers our staff to showcase our quality care, demonstrate our engaging programming, and capture resident stories with ease and high production value. We receive hundreds of these special moments each month from our 40+ communities, with videos ranging anywhere from 45 seconds to several minutes. OneDay has created a priceless circle of engagement between our staff, residents, and their families that continues to grow each day.”

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